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1. Of or relating to perception: perceptive faculties.
a. Having the ability to perceive; keen in discernment.
b. Marked by discernment and understanding; sensitive.

per·cep′tive·ly adv.
per′cep·tiv′i·ty (pûr′sĕp-tĭv′ĭ-tē), per·cep′tive·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




feel a draft To sense negative feelings of others toward one-self; to perceive subtle manifestations of hostility, often racial. This phrase, obviously based on the dual dimensions of physical and emotional coldness, originated in the jazz world.

The black audience would send a draft toward the Negro leader who hired a white man instead of a black man of comparable talent and stylistic inclination. (Downbeat, May 16, 1968)

The British use the expression feel the draught to describe a sense of inconvenience or discomfort, often in relation to one’s financial situation.

With only so much national advertising to go round … the oldest commercial stations are feeling the draught as well. (Listener, June, 1966)

have [someone’s] number To know a person’s real motives or intentions; to be a perceptive and astute judge of character; to size another up. The practice of assigning numbers to identify people is the probable source of this expression. Although one’s “number” is a superficial designation, the expression connotes a deeper, more profound understanding of a person. Have [someone’s] number dates from the mid-19th century and is current today.

Do you remember the day before when he made that crack at you in front of Miss Crozier? I had his number right then. (R. D. Paine, Comr. Rolling Ocean, 1921)

know a hawk from a handsaw To be capable of differentiating between two things; to be wise, not easily fooled or duped. Handsaw is a corruption of heronshaw ‘a young heron.’ Thus, to differentiate between two similar things implies a more refined intelligence than is suggested by the expression in its present form. Shakespeare used this expression in Hamlet:

I am but mad north-northwest. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw. (II, ii)

It has also been conjectured that hawk refers not to the bird of prey but to a tool like a pickax. In that case, both hawk and handsaw would denote instruments.

know chalk from cheese To be able to differentiate between two things that are superficially alike but essentially dissimilar; to be discerning, to have a keen mind; to know the real thing from a counterfeit. As early as the 14th century, these two words were set apart as opposites.

Lo, how they feignen chalk for cheese. (John Gower, Confessio Amantis, 1393)

The implication is that “cheese” is superior to or finer than “chalk.” Thus, to be as “different as chalk and cheese” is to be as different as black and white, or day and night, even though chalk and cheese are similar in appearance.

look beneath the surface To go beyond appearances to try to perceive the true nature of something; not to be fooled by superficial glitter or plainness. This proverbial saying is attributed to the Roman Emperor, philosopher, and writer Marcus Aurelius (121-180):

Look beneath the surface; let not the several quality of a thing nor its worth escape thee. (Meditations)

look through a millstone To be discerning and sharp-sighted; to exercise keen powers of perception. A millstone is a large, opaque stone used in grinding grains. Therefore the physically impossible challenge to see through a millstone can be met only figuratively by one of extraordinarily keen perception. The expression appeared in print by the mid-16th century.

Your eyes are so sharp, that you cannot only look through a Millstone, but clean through the mind. (John Lyly, Euphues and his England, 1680)

read between the lines To understand the implications of another’s words or actions; to see beyond the explicit and be sensitive to the implications of subtleties and nuances; to get the underlying message, whether intended or not, regardless of the words that couch it or the actions that convey it. The phrase was once literal; methods of cryptogrammic communication included the use of invisible ink for writing “between the lines” or the practice of relating the secret message in alternate lines. Thus, “reading between the lines” was crucial to receiving the message sent. Today the expression often refers to an ability to sense an author’s tone or a person’s ulterior motives.

People who have not the shrewdness to read a little between the lines … are grievously misled. (The Manchester Examiner, January, 1886)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.perceptiveness - a feeling of understanding
sensibility - refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions; "cruelty offended his sensibility"
2.perceptiveness - delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values); "arrogance and lack of taste contributed to his rapid success"; "to ask at that particular time was the ultimate in bad taste"
discrimination, secernment - the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
connoisseurship, vertu, virtu - love of or taste for fine objects of art
vogue, style, trend - the popular taste at a given time; "leather is the latest vogue"; "he followed current trends"; "the 1920s had a style of their own"
delicacy, discretion - refined taste; tact
culture - the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
3.perceptiveness - perception of that which is obscure
perception - knowledge gained by perceiving; "a man admired for the depth of his perception"
4.perceptiveness - the quality of insight and sympathetic understanding
sensitiveness, sensitivity - the ability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment
unperceptiveness - the lack of insight and sympathetic understanding
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
قُدْرَة على الإدراك والإحْساس
anlayışlı olma


[pəˈseptɪvnɪs] N (= insight) → perspicacia f, agudeza f; (= ability to perceive) → facultad f perceptiva
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


n (of person) (= quickness to see/hear/smell)Aufmerksamkeit f; (= quick realization)Scharfsinnigkeit f; (of analysis, speech, study)Erkenntnisreichtum m, → Scharfsinnigkeit f; (of argument)Einsichtigkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


(pəˈsepʃən) noun
the ability to see, understand etc clearly. a man of great perception.
perˈceptive (-tiv) adjective
able to see, understand etc clearly. a very perceptive man.
perˈceptively adverb
perˈceptiveness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in periodicals archive ?
Results revealed significant improvements in nonverbal perceptiveness, expressiveness, and extraversion.
Now, lest you think that "Ellen Foster" is just another Southern tale of dysfunctional families, poverty and ignorance, let me tell you about this little girl: Imagine the innocence yet wisdom of Scout Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird," the honesty and directness of Holden Caulfield in "The Catcher in the Rye" and the pluck, perceptiveness and street smarts of Huckleberry Finn all rolled into one.
In this brilliant performance, three hallmarks of Harry Berger's approach are abundantly in evidence: an inexhaustible capacity to take up diverse strands of contemporary theory and redirect them toward his own highly focused analytical goals; an ability to reconstitute a field by engaging in in-depth conversations with the writings of key critics; and an uncanny perceptiveness in picking out visual details that cumulatively generate new interpretations of individual works of art.
The following passage concerning the large audience of Polish immigrants who attended Ignacy Paderewski's piano recitals in the United States exemplifies Parakilas's perceptiveness, as well as his occasional tendency to repeat himself:
This, and the extraordinary fact that, when the work was done, she wrote about it with a perceptiveness and open-hearted honesty that won her memoir a Pulitzer Prize.
It is easy to marvel at the technical brilliance of Van Dyck, the perceptiveness of his portraits and the power of his devotional art.
While the officer tries to dominate using the posturings of control with which he is invested, A-Lan keeps wresting that power away with the muscle of perceptiveness and emotional honesty.
Such qualities also nurture secure attachment in infants, who carefully monitor a caregiver's kindness and perceptiveness, as well as his or her familiarity.
Such an appreciation is so rarely essayed in the academic literature, though, that we must be grateful not only for its perceptiveness but also for its mere existence.
One does not have to agree with Castel to acknowledge the perceptiveness of his arguments.
I had held my breath up to this point, thinking that surely a woman of this writer's perceptiveness cannot fail to see the parallel between the Nazi Holocaust and the worldwide slaughter of innocent babies.
First, it makes too much of Kabakov's outsider status since it was precisely as privileged insider, not as dissident, that Kabakov-cum-homo sovieticus was able to analyze the Soviet system with such remarkable perceptiveness, to endow the drabness of communal life, epitomized by the kommunalka (the communal apartment), with a certain poetry.