or dis·cern·a·ble

[ dih-sur-nuh-buhl, -zur- ]
/ dɪˈsɜr nə bəl, -ˈzɜr- /
See synonyms for: discernible / discernibly on Thesaurus.com


capable of being discerned; distinguishable.



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Origin of discernible

1555–65; <Latin discernibilis (see discern, -ible); replacing earlier discernable<Middle French, equivalent to discern(er) to discern + -able-able

OTHER WORDS FROM discernible

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does discernible mean?

Discernible means able to be recognized, identified, or distinguished. If two things are described as discernible, it means they can be told apart.

The verb discern means to recognize small details, accurately tell the difference between similar things, and make intelligent judgements by using such observations.

Discernible is sometimes spelled as discernable. A close synonym is distinguishable.

Discernible is especially used with the word difference, as in There is no discernable difference between these two things. 

The ability to discern or the process of doing so is called discernment, as in Only through careful discernment are these two parts discernible.

Discernible means able to be discerned—not able to discern. The word for that is discerning, which can describe someone who has the ability to discern or such an ability, as in Most chefs have a very discerning palate

Example: These two scents may smell identical to the average person, but they are discernible to an experienced perfumer.

Where does discernible come from?

The first records of the word discernible come from the mid-1500s. Its base word, discern, derives from the Latin term discernere, meaning “to separate” or “to divide,” from dis-, meaning “apart,” and cernere, “to separate.”

To discern is to tell things apart—to separate them, even when they appear to be very similar. Things that are discernible can be identified or separated in this way. This ability is often associated with wisdom and experience. For example, some flavors may only be discernible to a person with a sophisticated or very sensitive palate. For people who are color-blind, some colors are not discernible. When two or more things seem to be exactly the same, people often say that there is no discernible difference between them.

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What are some other forms related to discernible

  • discernable (alternate spelling)
  • discernibly (adverb)
  • discernably (adverb)
  • undiscernible (adjective)
  • undiscernable (adjective)
  • undiscernibly (adverb)
  • undiscernably (adverb)
  • discernibleness (noun)
    discernableness (noun)
  • discern (verb)

What are some synonyms for discernible?

What are some words that share a root or word element with discernible


What are some words that often get used in discussing discernible?

How is discernible used in real life?

Discernible is a somewhat formal word and is typically used in serious contexts.



Try using discernible!

Which of the following terms does NOT describe something two things that are discernible

A. able to differentiated
B. distinguishable
C. identifiable
D. identical

Example sentences from the Web for discernible

British Dictionary definitions for discernible


rarely discernable

/ (dɪˈsɜːnəbəl) /


able to be discerned; perceptible

Derived forms of discernible

discernibly or rarely discernably, adverb
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