How do I refer to intelligent life? In English we tend to use sentient or sapient. (Although, sentient is technically incorrect, but it tends to be used more often.)

2 Answers 2


The simple answer should work: inteligenta vivo, referring to living things who are capable of reason, raciaj estaĵoj, or vivuloj kapablaj je rezono.

In Monato, SETI is glossed as Serĉado de Ekstertera Inteligenteco.

An intelligent, extraterrestrial being is an inteligenta, ekstertera vivulo/estaĵo, or an eksterterano.

The English words sentient and sapient are quite ambiguous. Sentient may mean "able to sense" or "able to perceive" (a plant or machine can do the former, but not the latter) while sapient may mean "wise", or simply "rational" at the level of homo sapiens.

  • Senspova (or sensiva) means "able to sense."

  • Sentpova (or sentiva) means "able to feel."

  • Perceptpova (or perceptiva) means "able to perceive."

  • Saĝa means "wise", the original meaning of sapient.

  • Racia means "reasonable, rational, having to do with reason."

  • Rezonpova (or rezoniva) means specifically "able to reason."

Note that -iva is an unofficial suffix meaning pova, kapabla, used to preserve the original forms of certain European words. It is a little problematic and some prefer to avoid it.


If you mean just intelligent life:

  • Intelligent = Inteligenta

  • Life (something that is alive) = Vivaĵo

  • Do you know that there is intelligent life in the ocean? = Cxu vi scias, ke la inteligenta vivajxo ekzistas en la maro?

If you mean aliens - From the tekstaro:

  • ...la temoj “Vivo ekster la Tero” kaj “Serĉado de Ekstertera Inteligenteco”...

  • Kiam li pridiskutas la temon “Komunikado kun Ekstertera Civilizacio...”

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