- to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend: They discerned a sail on the horizon.
- to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
- to distinguish or discriminate.
Origin of discern
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for discern
But, as far as I can discern, they do focused, pragmatic work.COEXIST’s Bonehead Bumper-Sticker Politics
December 21, 2014
The addicting ditty “One of These Things” was used to help children learn to compare and discern differences.‘Sesame Street’ Is Middle-Aged and Awesome
November 10, 2014
Meaning, one was left to discern, that religion is self-evidently a coercive force for ill.Karen Armstrong’s New Rule: Religion Isn’t Responsible for Violence
October 29, 2014
Lately though it seems the line between spin and reality is harder to discern.When Campaign Spin Becomes Fact
March 21, 2014
Rational people, they contend, would take the time to discern whether the person behind the weapon was an actual threat.The Scare Campaign of Open Carry Activists
November 18, 2013
In the nearer ranks we may discern the variety of ingredients that compose the mass.Biographical Sketches
The physical facts couldn't be denied, and beyond the physical facts I could discern nothing.The Conquest of Fear
The second course was so equal that the keenest judges could not discern any vantage.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
Within the door of the cottage you discern the wife, with her ruddy English cheek.Main Street
She had an eye to discern, and a courage to seize, an important crisis.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
- (tr) to recognize or perceive clearly
- to recognize or perceive (differences)
Word Origin and History for discern
late 14c., from Old French discerner (13c.) "distinguish (between), separate" (by sifting), and directly from Latin discernere "to separate, set apart, divide, distribute; distinguish, perceive," from dis- "off, away" (see dis-) + cernere "distinguish, separate, sift" (see crisis). Related: Discerned; discerning.