perceptible

perceptible, sensible, palpable, tangible, appreciable, ponderable all mean capable of being apprehended through the senses or intellect as real and existent.
Perceptible may be used inclusively to describe whatever comes within the range of one's senses and can be recognized in itself or by certain signs
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perceptible sounds

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the ship is barely perceptible on the horizon

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without argument, without any perceptible stages, the estrangement of almost a year was gone— Wouk

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something strange was in the air, perceptible to a little boy but utterly beyond his understanding— H. G. Wells

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It may also be used with or with-out qualification (as by just, scarcely, or barely) to describe something that just passes a borderline (as that between invisibility and visibility or inaudibility and audibility)
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a perceptible change in her tone

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there are perceptible differences between surprise and astonish

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a perceptible flavor of onion

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her remark had no perceptible relevance to the topic of conversation

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Sensible (see also MATERIAL, AWARE) may be used to describe whatever is clearly apprehended through the bodily senses or which impresses itself strongly on the mind through the medium of sensations
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a rich and thronging world of sen-sible things— Lowes

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our true ideas of sensible things do indeed copy them— James

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In contrast with perceptible, however, sensible applies to what is more obvious, even sometimes to what is patent through its effects or signs; thus, a sensible change in tone is one which is immediately recognized; a sensible difference in a person's expression is one which is quickly detected
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the direct, sensible influence of Protestantism has been to isolate and to individualize— Brownell

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every owner is entitled to have the water come on to him without sensible diminution as regards quantity and sensible alteration as regards quality— F. D. Smith & Barbara Wilcox

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Both palpable and tangible in their primary senses may be used to describe anything which is perceptible through the sense of touch.
Palpable, however, although it is used of what is felt by touching with the tips of the fingers
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a palpable powder is one that feels gritty

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touch beauty as though it were a palpable thing— Maugham

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before the clouded night dropped its mysterious veil, it was the immensity of space made visible—almost palpableConrad

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as often implies a sensation produced as a sensation sought and therefore may be applied to whatever evokes a response from tactile receptors in any part of the body
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there is a palpable chill in the air

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Tangible, on the other hand, is applied primarily to things which may be or are handled or grasped
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if an infant is not provided with light tangible objects, he will play with a sunbeam or shadow

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idols are gods or divinities in tangible form

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a cloud, a pillar of fire, a tangible physical something— London

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In their secondary senses these two words diverge widely. Palpable, in one of its most common meanings, implies a high degree of perceptibility (see under EVIDENT); in poetic use, especially when applied to an immaterial thing, it suggests an almost physical awareness of its existence or reality
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what happiness to live when every hour brings palpable access of knowledge— Wordsworth

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Tangible in its extended senses is applied to things that can be thought of as having real, independent, or objective existence whether they are apparent to the senses or not or whether they can be handled or not; thus, tangible ideas are those that can be grasped by the mind and made objects of thought ; tangible advantages are those having a substantial character; tangible assets are those (as equipment and inventory) that can be appraised with reasonable accuracy as distinguished from those (as goodwill) that are intangible
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the conquest of a territory meant a tangible advantage to the conqueror— Angell

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Appreciable is applicable to whatever is large enough to be measured, weighed, valued, or otherwise estimated; thus, a perceptible change in the temperature may be so slight a change that it almost but not quite escapes notice; a palpable change in temperature may still be slight, but it is great enough to make it definitely felt; an appreciable change in temperature may also be slight, but its extent is determinable by reference to a thermometer
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the current . . . generated is small but appreciableEngel

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a satellite must be launched above the appreciable atmosphere— Newell

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But appreciable may lose any clear notion of measurability and then often approaches considerable or significant in meaning
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there had been an appreciable feeling of strain, and a corresponding rise in your sense of the obligation of meeting it— Mary Austin

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there was no appreciable craft tradition in astronomy before modern times— S. F. Mason

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Ponderable is applicable to whatever can be weighed either physically or mentally
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something ponderable from the outer world—something of which we can say that its weight is so-and-so— Jeans

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The word tends, however, to be applied to what is appreciable in terms of weight or significance as distinguished from what is so intangible as to elude such determination
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exert a ponderable influence upon the events of his time

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Analogous words: *clear, lucid, perspicuous: *noticeable, conspicuous, signal: discerned or discernible, noted or notable, observed or observable (see corresponding verbs at SEE)
Antonyms: imperceptible

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • perceptible — [ pɛrsɛptibl ] adj. • 1372; lat. perceptibilis, de percipere I ♦ 1 ♦ Qui peut être perçu par les organes des sens; qui peut déterminer une perception. ⇒ visible; audible; appréciable, discernable, saisissable, sensible. Perceptible à l œil, à l… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • perceptible — adjetivo 1. Que se puede percibir, comprender o apreciar con facilidad: Los objetos son menos perceptibles con la niebla. Es claramente perceptible que has engordado. Antónimo: imperceptible. 2. Uso/registro: administrativo. Que se puede cobrar:… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • perceptible — Perceptible. adj. de tout genre. Qui peut estre apperceu. Cela n est point perceptible aux yeux. Il s estend aussi quelquefois aux autres sens, & aux choses de l esprit. Cela n est presque point perceptible au goust. Il ne s employe guere qu avec …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • perceptible — [pər sep′tə bəl] adj. [LL perceptibilis < pp. of L percipere] that can be perceived perceptibility n. perceptibly adv. SYN. PERCEPTIBLE is applied to anything that can be apprehended by the senses but often connotes that the thing is just… …   English World dictionary

  • Perceptible — Per*cep ti*ble, a. [L. perceptibilis: cf. F. perceptible. See {Perceive}.] Capable of being perceived; cognizable; discernible; perceivable. [1913 Webster] With a perceptible blast of the air. Bacon. [1913 Webster] {Per*cep ti*ble*ness}, n.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • perceptible — I adjective apparent, apprehensible, ascertainable, beholdable, clear, clearly defined, clearly marked, cognizable, comprehensible, defined, detectable, discernible, disclosed, discoverable, distinct, distinguishable, easy to be seen, evident,… …   Law dictionary

  • perceptible — (adj.) 1550s, perceptive, from L.L. perceptibilis, from percipere (see PERCEIVE (Cf. perceive)). Meaning capable of being perceived is from c.1600. Related: Perceptibly …   Etymology dictionary

  • perceptible — [adj] noticeable, obvious apparent, appreciable, audible, clear, cognizable, conspicuous, detectable, discernible, distinct, distinguishable, evident, lucid, observable, palpable, perceivable, perspicuous, recognizable, sensible, signal, tangible …   New thesaurus

  • perceptible — (Del lat. perceptibĭlis). 1. adj. Que se puede comprender o percibir. 2. Que se puede recibir o cobrar …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • perceptible — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ able to be perceived. DERIVATIVES perceptibly adverb …   English terms dictionary


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