Perception Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Some say perception precedes reality, but what does that really mean? Read on as we explore the word perception to uncover its definition, origin, and more.

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They say perception is merely a lens — or mindset — from which people view the world. In other words, it’s not necessarily reality. That said, what exactly is perception? 

In this post, we’re exploring the word perception to uncover its definition, origin, and more. So if you’re curious about what perception is — keep reading. Here’s our complete guide on perception.  

What Is the Definition of Perception?

/pɚ-/ /pəˈsep.ʃən/ 

There are two types of people that live in the world: those who see the glass half full and those who see the glass half empty. This incredible phenomenon is called perception. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few dictionary definitions:

  • The Cambridge Dictionary defines perception as a belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on how things seem. 
  • According to the Collins Dictionary, your perception of something is the way you think about it or the impression you have of it. 
  • The Britannica Dictionary says perception is the way you think about or understand someone or something. 

So, what is perception, you ask?

Simply put, perception is the act of perceiving. It’s the ability to understand or notice something and refers to the way you take in the world through your senses. 

What Are the Types of Perception?

Some of the main types of perception include:

  • Touch: thought to be the first sense that humans develop, touch consists of many distinct sensations communicated through specialized neurons in the skin. Temperature, vibration, pressure, pain, and other sensations are all part of the touch sense. 
  • Sound: or hearing, this sense works via the complex labyrinth that is the human ear. 
  • Vision: or sight, this sense is a complex process that refers to perceiving things through the eyes (or retinas). 
  • Taste: also known as the gustatory sense, taste is usually broken down into the perception of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. 
  • Smell: with the olfactory cleft, humans are thought to be able to smell over one trillion scents. 

There are also other senses that allow people to perceive things, such as time, balance, body position, acceleration, speech, social, and familiarity. 

What Is the Word Origin of Perception?

Our word of the day derives from Middle English percepcioun (meaning “understanding”) and Latin perceptio (meaning “gathering,” “collecting,” or “receiving”).

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Perception?

Now that you have a pretty good idea as to what perception means, let’s take a look at some synonyms and antonyms. These tools will help you to not only commit the definition of perception to memory but enhance your existing vocabulary, too.  

Synonyms of perception include:

  • Acknowledgment 
  • Percipience
  • Gut feeling 
  • Intellection
  • Quick wittedness
  • Wisdom
  • Feeling in one’s bones 
  • Profundity 
  • Clarity
  • Acuteness
  • Funny feeling
  • Second insight
  • Cognitive processes 
  • Pre Apprehension 
  • Sagacity 
  • Accepted wisdom 
  • Apprehending
  • Viewpoint
  • Sixth sense
  • Sense of sight 
  • Recognition
  • Impression
  • Perceptual
  • Range of experience 
  • Conception
  • View
  • Keen intuition 
  • Awareness
  • Understanding
  • Visual perception
  • Insight
  • Field of vision 
  • Perceptiveness
  • Cleverness
  • Acuity
  • Sharp wittedness
  • Perceived notion

Antonyms of perceptions include:

  • Non Comprehension
  • Wrong idea
  • Error of judgment 
  • False impression
  • Misjudgment 
  • Mix-up
  • Fault
  • Faux pas
  • Inaccuracy
  • Distortion
  • Blunder 
  • Erroneous belief
  • False reading
  • Misconstrual
  • Miscalculation
  • Oversight
  • Mistaken belief
  • Lack of education
  • Folly
  • Indiscretion
  • Benightedness
  • Ignorance
  • Insensitivity
  • Short-sightedness
  • Heavy handedness
  • Disregard
  • Clumsiness
  • Thoughtlessness
  • Upset
  • Neglect 

How Can You Use Perception in a Sentence?

Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information, but how is it used in a sentence? Here are some example sentences:

“Small town living may change people’s perceptions of their hometown as they get older, but I’ve never wanted to leave home.” 

“I have horrible depth perception — or extrasensory perception — so I struggle with a lot of sports at school.”

“I find that people’s perceptions in New York differ from other places around the country.”

“Mrs. Baker is running for governor so the public perception of her is very important.” 

“Although sensation and perception are similar, these two words are not interchangeable.”

“Don’t ask me what time it is; my perception of time is horrible.”

“If you ask me, human perception is such an interesting thing.”

What Are Translations of Perception?

Seeing as an interest in perception goes all the way back to the time of the Ancient Greek philosophers, it’s not surprising that there is more than one way to say our word of the day. 

Common translations of perception include:

  • Chinese (Traditional) — 看法, 見解,觀念,看法, 視覺
  • Spanish — idea, imagen, percepción
  • Danish — intelligens
  • Thai — การรับรู้
  • Italian — percezione, intuizione
  • Russian — восприятие, представление, ощущение
  • Ukrainian — розуміння, усвідомлення
  • German — das Wahrnehmungsvermögen
  • Norwegian — oppfatning (masculine), syn (neuter), observasjonsevne (masculine)
  • Malay — daya tanggapan
  • Vietnamese — sự nhận thức
  • Indonesian — perseptif
  • Polish — postrzeganie, percepcja
  • Turkish — algılama, sezgi, görme
  • Czech — vnímavost
  • French — idée (feminine), image (féminine), perception (féminine)
  • Portuguese — impressão, percepção, perspicácia
  • Chinese (Simplified) — 看法, 认识,观念,看法, 视觉

Bottom Line

The term perception is tricky to define because all perception relies on the mind. In other words, a person’s perception of something is ultimately subjective

You see, perception is a result of becoming aware of people, objects, events, and relationships through the senses. 

So, what is perception? Simply put, perception is the sensory experience of the world. It involves recognizing environmental stimuli as well as actions in response to these stimuli.

That said, we hope your perception of this article is a good one! 


  1. PERCEPTION Definition | Cambridge English Dictionary 
  2. PERCEPTION Definition | Cambridge English Dictionary
  3. Perception definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  4. Perception Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary