verb Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French discerner, from Latin discernere to separate, distinguish between, from dis- apart + cernere to sift — more at dis-, certain Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. a. to detect with the eyes <
discerned a figure approaching through the fog
b. to detect with senses other than vision <
discerned a strange odor
2. to recognize or identify as separate and distinct ; discriminate <
discern right from wrong
3. to come to know or recognize mentally <
unable to discern his motives
intransitive verb to see or understand the differencediscerner noundiscernible also discernable adjectivediscernibly adverb

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Discern — Dis*cern , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Discerned}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Discerning}.] [F. discerner, L. discernere, discretum; dis + cernere to separate, distinguish. See {Certain}, and cf. {Discreet}.] 1. To see and identify by noting a difference or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Discern — Dis*cern , v. i. 1. To see or understand the difference; to make distinction; as, to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood. [1913 Webster] More than sixscore thousand that cannot discern between their right hand their left. Jonah iv …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • discern — [di sʉrn′, dizʉrn′] vt. [ME discernen < OFr discerner < L discernere < dis , apart + cernere, to separate: see HARVEST] 1. to separate (a thing) mentally from another or others; recognize as separate or different 2. to perceive or… …   English World dictionary

  • discern — I (detect with the senses) verb appreciate, apprehend, apprehend clearly, ascertain, awake to, become acquainted with, become apprized, become aware of, become informed, behold, cast eyes on, catch sight of, cognize, command a view of, comprehend …   Law dictionary

  • discern — (v.) late 14c., from O.Fr. discerner (13c.) distinguish (between), separate (by sifting), and directly from L. discernere to separate, set apart, divide, distribute; distinguish, perceive, from dis off, away (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + cernere… …   Etymology dictionary

  • discern — perceive, descry, observe, notice, remark, note, espy, behold, *see, view, survey, contemplate Analogous words: *discover, ascertain: divine, apprehend, anticipate, *foresee: pierce, penetrate, probe (see ENTER) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • discern — [v] catch sight of; recognize and understand anticipate, apprehend, ascertain, behold, descry, detect, determine, difference, differentiate, discover, discrepate, discriminate, distinguish, divine, espy, extricate, figure out, find out, focus,… …   New thesaurus

  • discern — ► VERB 1) recognize or find out. 2) distinguish with difficulty by sight or with the other senses. DERIVATIVES discernible adjective. ORIGIN Latin discernere, from cernere to separate …   English terms dictionary

  • discern — [[t]dɪsɜ͟ː(r)n[/t]] discerns, discerning, discerned 1) VERB If you can discern something, you are aware of it and know what it is. [FORMAL] [V n] You need a long series of data to be able to discern such a trend... [V wh] It was hard to discern… …   English dictionary

  • discern — UK [dɪˈsɜː(r)n] / US [dɪˈsɜrn] verb [transitive] Word forms discern : present tense I/you/we/they discern he/she/it discerns present participle discerning past tense discerned past participle discerned formal 1) to notice something, especially… …   English dictionary

  • discern — verb ADVERB ▪ clearly, easily, readily (esp. AmE) ▪ She could clearly discern a figure walking up to the house. ▪ barely (esp. AmE), dimly (esp. BrE), just …   Collocations dictionary

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