AskDefine | Define clairvoyance

Dictionary Definition

clairvoyance n : apparent power to perceive things that are not present to the senses [syn: second sight, extrasensory perception, E.S.P., ESP]

User Contributed Dictionary



From French clairvoyance.




  1. The power to perceive objects that are not accessible to the senses.




  • /klɛʁvwajɑ̃s/
  • SAMPA: /klER.vwa.jA~s/


fr-noun f

Extensive Definition

Clairvoyance (from 17th century French with clair meaning "clear" and voyance meaning "visibility") is the purported ability to gain information about an object, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses, a form of extra-sensory perception. A person said to have the ability of clairvoyance is referred to as a clairvoyant ("one who sees clear").
Claims for the existence of paranormal psychic abilities such as clairvoyance are highly controversial. Parapsychology explores this possibility, but no evidence for such paranormal phenomena is accepted by the scientific community.


Within parapsychology, clairvoyance is used exclusively to refer to the transfer of information that is both contemporary to, and hidden from, the clairvoyant. It is differentiated from telepathy in that the information is said to be gained directly from an external physical source, rather than being transferred from the mind of one individual to another.
Outside of parapsychology, clairvoyance is often used to refer to other forms of Anomalous cognition, most commonly the perception of events that have occurred in the past, or which will occur in the future (known as retrocognition and precognition respectively), There is also a measured level of belief from amongst the general public, with the portion of the US population who believe in clairvoyance varying between 1/4 and 1/3 over the 15 year period from 1990 to 2005. (Of course, belief of the general public in the existence of a phenomenon does not mean that it exists in nature.)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ESP, a priori knowledge, anticipation, apprehension, astrology, augury, buddhi, clairsentience, command, comprehension, conception, conceptualization, crystal ball, crystal gazing, direct apprehension, divination, divining, extrasensory perception, foreboding, foreknowing, foreknowledge, foreseeability, foresight, forewisdom, fortunetelling, grasp, grip, haruspication, haruspicy, horoscopy, ideation, immediate cognition, insight, inspiration, intellection, intelligence, intuition, intuitionism, intuitive reason, intuitiveness, intuitivism, knowledge without thought, lucidity, mantic, mantology, mastery, mental grasp, palm-reading, palmistry, precognition, prehension, premonition, presage, prescience, presentiment, psychometry, pythonism, satori, savvy, second sight, second-sightedness, sixth sense, sorcery, subconscious knowledge, subconscious perception, understanding, unmediated perception, wisdom
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