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discerning

[dih-sur-ning, -zur-]
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adjective
  1. showing good or outstanding judgment and understanding: a discerning critic of French poetry.
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Origin of discerning

First recorded in 1600–10; discern + -ing2
Related formsdis·cern·ing·ly, adverbnon·dis·cern·ing, adjectiveun·dis·cern·ing, adjectiveun·dis·cern·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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perceptive, keen, sharp, discriminating.

discern

[dih-surn, -zurn]
verb (used with object)
  1. to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend: They discerned a sail on the horizon.
  2. to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to distinguish or discriminate.
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Origin of discern

1300–50; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin discernere to separate, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + cernere to separate
Related formsdis·cern·er, nounpre·dis·cern, verb (used with object)un·dis·cerned, adjective

Synonyms

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1. discover, descry, espy. See notice. 2, 3. differentiate, judge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for discerning

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • “You are as discerning as ever,” murmured the land baron––for it was Edward Mauville.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • My son-in-law, Lawrence Hardin, is possessed of a discerning eye.

    Eventide

    Effie Afton

  • Where sounds are lacking, of what use is the faculty of discerning them?

  • To her discerning eye his manner of action conveyed no other impression.

    The Loyalist

    James Francis Barrett

  • To Christianity, discerning the end through the means, it is Redemption.


British Dictionary definitions for discerning

discerning

adjective
  1. having or showing good taste or judgment; discriminating
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Derived Formsdiscerningly, adverb

discern

verb
  1. (tr) to recognize or perceive clearly
  2. to recognize or perceive (differences)
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Derived Formsdiscerner, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere to divide, from dis- 1 (apart) + cernere to separate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for discerning

"action of perceiving," late 14c., verbal noun from discern. As a present participle adjective, attested from c.1600.

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discern

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper