Etymology
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perceive (v.)

c. 1300, perceiven, "become aware of, gain knowledge of," especially "to come to know by direct experience," via Anglo-French parceif, Old North French *perceivre (Old French perçoivre) "perceive, notice, see; recognize, understand," from Latin percipere "obtain, gather, seize entirely, take possession of," also, figuratively, "to grasp with the mind, learn, comprehend," literally "to take entirely," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + capere "to grasp, take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."

Replaced Old English ongietan. Both the Latin senses were in Old French, though the primary sense of Modern French percevoir is literal, "to receive, collect" (rents, taxes, etc.), while English uses the word almost always in the metaphorical sense. Related: Perceived; perceiving.

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Definitions of perceive

perceive (v.)
to become aware of through the senses;
I could perceive the ship coming over the horizon
Synonyms: comprehend
perceive (v.)
become conscious of;
She finally perceived the futility of her protest
From wordnet.princeton.edu