late 14c., "wisdom, understanding, sageness; the reasonable soul, that which distinguishes humans from beasts," from Old French sapience and directly from Latin sapientia "good taste, good sense, discernment; intelligence, wisdom," from sapiens "sensible; shrewd, knowing, discrete;" also "well-acquainted with the true value of things," like Greek sophos (see sapient). Formerly also sometimes especially "intelligent taste" (1660s). OED calls it "A learned synonym. Now rare in serious use."
updated on December 21, 2021
Dictionary entries near sapience