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

  • n. The quality of being perspicuous; clearness and lucidity: "He was at pains to insist on the perspicuity of what he wrote” ( Lionel Trilling).
  • n. Perspicacity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Clarity, lucidity, especially in expression; the state or characteristic of being perspicuous.
  • n. Perspicacity; insight.
  • n. Transparency; translucence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being transparent or translucent.
  • n. The quality of being perspicuous to the understanding; clearness of expression or thought.
  • n. Sagacity; perspicacity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The quality of being perspicuous or transparent; that quality of a substance which renders objects visible through it; transparency; clearness.
  • n. The quality of being clear to the mind, or easily apprehended or understood; clearness to mental vision; freedom from obsurity or ambiguity; that quality of writing or language which readily presents to the mind of another the precise ideas of the author; clearness.
  • n. Synonyms Perspicuity, Lucidity, Clearness, Plainness. These words, as expressing a quality of style, suggest much of their original meaning. Perspicuity is the quality by which the meaning can be see through the words, transparency. Lucidity expresses the same idea, or the other meaning of lucid, that of the radiation or shining forth of the idea from language. Clearness may have two aspects, corresponding to the clearness with which one sees an object as separate from other things, or to the clearness of water when it is not darkened in any way. plainness rests upon the idea that nothing rises up to intercept one's view of the thought; it therefore implies, as the others do not, a simpler and homelier diction, etc. Clearness or perspicuity is the common heading for that department of rhetoric which treats of intelligibility in methods of expression.

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

  • n. clarity as a consequence of being perspicuous


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Classical Latin perspicuitās ("transparency”, “lucidity”, “self-evidency”, (in post-Classical Latin): “penetration”, “insight"), from perspicuus ("clear”, “evident"); compare perspicacity and the French perspicuité.


  • At times, insight — "the strikes were not so much against Afrikaans as a language, but against an Afrikaans government" — vies with prejudice — "the children are being used" — and momentary perspicuity is lost to habits of racism.

    'I Saw a Nightmare …' Doing Violence to Memory: The Soweto Uprising, June 16, 1976

  • The Holy Spirit hath so disposed the Scripture, that notwithstanding that perspicuity which is in the whole with respect unto its proper end, yet are there in sundry parts or passages of it, -- (1.)


  • * yes yes yes, i've been using this word a lot lately. i rather like the sound of it--sounds so naughty, yet perfectly benign. it's rather like "perspicuity" in that regard.

    i'm back! more or less ::

  • The pleasure in rhythmical arrangement is derived from two sources: first, from the need for perspicuity which is fulfilled through the regular grouping of the tonal elements in the bars, -- their length being adjusted to the average length of an attention wave, and the number of tones that fill them to the number of items which can be taken in at one act of attention, -- and through the subordination of the light to the heavy within the bars, the bars to the measures, and the measures to the periods.

    The Principles of Aesthetics

  • It seems that most — including McGrath, perhaps — continue to believe in the perspicuity of scripture.

    "Protestantism is dangerous. ..."

  • One of Grant's staff officers, Horace Porter, characterized the style of his commander's orders and dispatches as "vigorous and terse, with little of ornament; its most conspicuous characteristic was perspicuity."

    From Shiloh to Kandahar

  • Compared to the stunning perspicuity of Verne and Wells, the rest of us are just daydreamers.

    Paul Levine: For Novelists, the Future Isn't Fiction

  • The techniques with which the hand reproduces what the eye sees are old ones, and explained with wonderful perspicuity in the British Museum's big new show "Fra Angelico to Leonardo -- Italian Renaissance Drawings."

    Drawing on a Renaissance Treasure Trove

  • Two years later, his constituents sent him to the Virginia house of delegates where now, “with his usual perspicuity,” as a contemporary newspaper put it, he dismissed both previous motions as improper and suggested instead that the Constitution “be submitted to a Convention of the people for their full and free investigation, discussion, and decision.”


  • Peter Martins has had the perspicuity to recognize and bring on board the only two choreographers of real merit to have surfaced in the past decade — Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky — but they both got away: Wheeldon to his own dubious enterprise; Ratmansky to ABT.

    Where Are the Choreographers? City Ballet Tries and Tries Again


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