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From the Classical Latin perspicuitās (transparency”, “lucidity”, “self-evidency”, (in post-Classical Latin): “penetration”, “insight), from perspicuus (clear”, “evident); compare perspicacity and the French perspicuité.



perspicuity (countable and uncountable, plural perspicuities)

  1. Clarity, lucidity, especially in expression; the state or characteristic of being perspicuous.
    • 1905, George Bernard Shaw, The Irrational Knot, ch. 18,
      Whether through the first officer's want of perspicuity or my own stupidity, I was not a bit the wiser for the explanation.
  2. Perspicacity; insight.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      “Well,” I answered, at first with uncertainty, then with inspiration, “he would do splendidly to lead your cotillon, if you think of having one.” ¶ “So you do not dance, Mr. Crocker?” ¶ I was somewhat set back by her perspicuity.
    • 1965, "The Stupid Spy," Time, 19 Mar,
      Thompson, a high school dropout, said with rare perspicuity that he doubted the FBI would hire him.
  3. (rare) Transparency; translucence.
    • 1900, Edith Wharton, The Touchstone, ch. 11,
      It must have been on some such day of harsh sunlight, the incisive February brightness that gives perspicuity without warmth.


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