from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.
  • n. Keenness of insight and judgment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The ability to distinguish; judgement.
  • n. Discrimination.
  • n. To distinguish between things.
  • n. To perceive differences that exist.
  • n. The condition of understanding.
  • n. Aesthetic discrimination; taste, appreciation.
  • n. Perceptiveness.
  • n. The ability to make wise judgements; sagacity.
  • n. Discretion in judging objectively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of discerning.
  • n. The power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another; power of viewing differences in objects, and their relations and tendencies; penetrative and discriminate mental vision; acuteness; sagacity; insight.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of discerning.
  • n. Acuteness of judgment; discrimination; a considerable power of perceiving differences in regard to matters of morals and conduct: as, the errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment; also, the faculty of distinguishing; the exercise of this faculty.
  • n. Synonyms Penetration, Discrimination, Discernment, judgment, intelligence, acuteness, acumen, clear-sightedness, sagacity, shrewdness, insight. Penetration, or insight, goes to the heart of a subject, reads the inmost character, etc. Discrimination marks the differences in what it finds. Discernment combines both these ideas.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the cognitive condition of someone who understands
  • n. delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values)
  • n. perception of that which is obscure
  • n. the mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations
  • n. the trait of judging wisely and objectively


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From discern +‎ -ment.



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  • Madam, it is impossible for me to suspect a man of Mr. Snake’s sensibility and discernment.

    Sheridan, School for Scandal

    January 5, 2008