1. a way of thinking about something
2. a method of showing distance in a picture by making far away objects smaller
Origin and usage
The word perspective comes from the Latin word ‘perspicere’, from the Proto-Indo-European root ‘per’ meaning ‘through’ and the PIE root ‘spek’ meaning ‘to observe, look at’. It first appeared in English in the late 14th century and was first used as an art term around 1590. It wasn’t until 1762 that perspective came to describe a way of thinking about something.
Perspective is a way of describing a person’s outlook on something. It is often influenced by experiences and other factors. For example, many people enjoy warm, bright, sunny days with little rain because it lets them spend time out of doors in nice weather. A farmer, though, could view those same sunny days with worry and frustration because a lack of rain will harm their crops.
A common expression is “have some perspective“, and in this sense, the word perspective means using your common sense to judge situations as objectively as possible. For example, getting a bad mark in school might seem like the worst thing in the world to a child, but by viewing the situation with some perspective – like remembering that one bad mark won’t have that much impact on an entire school career – the child may start to feel better.
“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.”
“Travelling gives you some perspective of what the rest of the world is like. I think that having the courage to step out of the norm is the most important thing.”
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.
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