[dih-surn-muhnt, -zurn-]


the faculty of discerning; discrimination; acuteness of judgment and understanding.
the act or an instance of discerning.

Origin of discernment

1580–90; < Middle French discernement, equivalent to discern(er) to discern + -ment -ment
Related formsnon·dis·cern·ment, nounpre·dis·cern·ment, nounself-dis·cern·ment, noun

Synonyms for discernment

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for discernment

acumen, insight, judgment, understanding

Examples from the Web for discernment

Contemporary Examples of discernment

Historical Examples of discernment

  • Your discernment must be very subtle, if you know all that is in my heart.

  • He knew that she was right, and respected her for the discernment.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • Still, I'm going to admit that I don't think her taste and discernment is all it should be.

  • I am therefore incapable of that discernment which is necessary for the ascetic.


    Anatole France

  • These men of experience, integrity, and discernment are seekers after truths.

British Dictionary definitions for discernment



keen perception or judgment
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 discernment

1580s; see discern + -ment.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper