Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having or showing penetrating mental discernment; clear-sighted. See Synonyms at shrewd.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of acute discernment; having keen insight; mentally perceptive.
  • adj. Able to physically see clearly; quick-sighted; sharp-sighted.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the power of seeing clearly; quick-sighted; sharp of sight.
  • adj. Fig.: Of acute discernment; keen.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Quick-sighted; sharp of sight.
  • Of acute discernment.
  • Synonyms Acute, shrewd, clear-sighted, sharp-witted. See astute.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. acutely insightful and wise
  • adj. mentally acute or penetratingly discerning


From Latin perspicāx, perspicāc-, from perspicere, to look through; see perspective.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested 1548, from Late Latin perspicācitās ("discernment"), from Latin perspicax ("sharp-sighted"), from perspiciō ("look through"), from per- ("through") + speciō ("look at"). See also perspective. (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I had to sound out PERSPICACIOUS like 6 times before i gave up & looked it up. Because neither my grandma or i knew how to pronounce it, nor did we know what it meant. But it certainly did look like an interesting word & downright HARD to pronounce if you dont know it already-PERSPICACIOUS!!! Pretty Cool!!! I LUV THIS WORD! Its in my favs now!!

    November 28, 2012

  • Do perspicacious and perspiration have the same root?

    November 14, 2008

  • Such a beautiful word - in all its forms!

    October 22, 2007

  • "I pop with perspicacity..." --Wilbur, "Charlotte's Web"

    October 21, 2007

  • The Simpsons (episode 2F19)

    Lisa: Relax? I can't relax! Nor can I yield, relent, or -- Only two synonyms? Oh my God: I'm losing my perspicacity!
    Homer: Well, it's always in the last place you look.

    January 20, 2007