"paranormal gift of seeing things out of sight," 1837, from special use of French clairvoyance (16c., from Old French clerveans, 13c.) "quickness of understanding, sagacity, penetration," from clairvoyant "clear-sighted, discerning, judicious" (13c.), from clair (see clear (adj.)) + voyant "seeing," present participle of voir, from Latin videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). A secondary sense in French is the main sense in English.