If to be "empathetic" is to have a strong understanding of people and their thoughts and emotions, what would be the equivalent adjective for one with a strong understanding of their environment, the events and interactions within it, and their consequences? "Intuition" comes to mind and speaks of the predictive angle, but is broader than I'd like, as it could be considered an umbrella term under which empathy falls. I'm looking for a word that also falls under that umbrella but is focused on environmental intuition.

In tune and synchronized with X get closer, but a one-word counterpart of empathy would be ideal.

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    You want a single word, and I don't have one, but I have heard two phrases: "one with X", where X is usually "nature", but can be, for example, "the Sierra" or "the rainforest". Another phrase is "of X", as in "I am of the ice", used in a book by a woman who overwintered at South Pole. Again, X could be "the rainforest" or "the tundra" or "the Sierra", etc. – ab2 May 29 '18 at 4:37


I first thought of "perceptive", as it means you know what's around you, but it doesn't necessarily capture the meaning of understanding of your environment. For example you may be very perceptive of the electrical wire in proximity to the pool of water, yet not be conscious its potential hazard.

So instead I think "perspicacious" is fitting. In my opinion it has meanings both of perceptiveness and understanding. If we check the dictionary definitions that's indeed what sort of meanings we get, with common themes of "discernment" and "understanding":

1. acutely perceptive or discerning
Collins English Dictionary

Having or showing penetrating mental discernment; clear-sighted
American Heritage Dictionary

of acute mental vision or discernment
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Having a ready insight into and understanding of things.
Oxford Living Dictionaries

"Discerning" may be as good, but for me at least I see/hear in "perspicacious" other familiar words, ie., perspective/perceptive/perception.

Though the etymology shouldn't be important, I give it here anyway.

[C17: from Latin perspicax, from perspicere to look at closely; see perspective]
Collins English Dictionary

It may sound a bit highfalutin, but it's not terribly uncommon.

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"Atuned," "Aware" or "cognizant" I think may be what you are looking for.

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rapport TFD

a sympathetic relationship or understanding; a close relationship

As in:

In close rapport with X.

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