Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To perceive with the eyes; detect or distinguish.
  • transitive verb To recognize or understand as being distinct or different: synonym: see.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To distinguish; perceive the difference between(two or more things); discriminate.
  • To indicate or constitute the difference between; show the distinction between.
  • To see distinctly; separate mentally from the general mass of objects occupying the field of vision; perceive by the eye; descry.
  • To discover by the intellect; gain knowledge of; become aware of; distinguish.
  • Synonyms and To perceive, recognize, mark, note, espy, descry.
  • To perceive a difference or distinction; make or establish a distinction; discriminate: as, to discern between truth and falsehood.
  • To see; penetrate by the eye.
  • To have judicial cognizance: with of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To see or understand the difference; to make distinction.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To make cognizance.
  • transitive verb To see and identify by noting a difference or differences; to note the distinctive character of; to discriminate; to distinguish.
  • transitive verb To see by the eye or by the understanding; to perceive and recognize.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To detect with the senses, especially with the eyes.
  • verb transitive To perceive, recognize, or comprehend with the mind; to descry.
  • verb transitive To distinguish something as being different from something else; to differentiate.
  • verb intransitive To perceive differences.

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

  • verb detect with the senses

Etymologies

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

[Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere, to separate : dis-, apart; see dis– + cernere, to perceive; see krei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere ("to separate, divide, distinguish, discern"), from dis- ("apart") + cernere ("to separate"); see certain.

Examples

  • I still managed to graduate in the top third of my class at UVA, which, although UVA has a strict policy of not publishing class rankings, I was able to discern from a slight knowledge of statistics and knowing that we were adhering to a B-mean rule in assigning grades.

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  • But one of the few patterns I can actually discern is that during the hours when I tweet the book or website's URL, sales go up.

    "Many Moons"

  • What you were perhaps unable so far to discern from the photographs (which would be exactly the effect desired by Dientzenhofer) is the circumstance that the altar painting which you can see (showing the martyrium of St. Dionysius by the Bamberg court painter Sebastian Reinhard from 1714) is not actually on the high altar.

    Catholic Bamberg: Banz Abbey

  • So that the pattern we are invited to discern is one of indifference and incompetence, perhaps, but certainly not racism?

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • The environmental extremes that the army encounters (freezing cold vs. baking heat) reflects the dual nature of the soldiers themselves; as you can discern from the following passage:

    Paul Kearney - The Ten Thousand (Book Review)

  • The environmental extremes that the army encounters (freezing cold vs. baking heat) reflects the dual nature of the soldiers themselves; as you can discern from the following passage:

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  • At least the uniforms form enterpise you can discern from a regualr dude to the captain, and heck those jumpsuits had pockets too, and zippers!

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  • One truth that God allowed me to discern is that judging a group of people as wicked and evil because of their sexual orientation - and deeming them as unworthy of my association and unworthy of a relationship with God - was wrong.

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  • Also, as you can discern from the top photo, there are two tables, each of which seat 2 or 3 comfortably.

    Is Good Cheap Sushi a Paradox? The brand new Naruto Sushi doesn’t think so… | Midtown Lunch - Finding Lunch in the Food Wasteland of NYC's Midtown Manhattan

  • As you can clearly discern from the look on my face, I was seeking a restroom.

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Comments

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  • And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to DISCERN what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ... Philippians 1:9-10

    February 18, 2011