- sapient "wise," late 15c., from O.Fr. sapient, from L. sapientem (nom. sapiens), prp. of sapere "to taste, have taste, be wise," from PIE root *sep- "to taste, perceive" (Cf. O.S. an-sebban "to perceive, remark," O.H.G. antseffen, O.E. sefa "mind, understanding, insight;" see SAP (Cf. sap) (n.1)).
Etymology dictionary. 2014.