- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)n
- (transitive) To detect with the senses, especially with the eyes.
1875, Jules Verne, chapter 1, The Survivors of the Chancellor:
- Meanwhile the brig had altered her tack, and was moving slowly to the east. Three hours later and the keenest eye could not have discerned her top-sails above the horizon.
- (transitive) To perceive, recognize, or comprehend with the mind; to descry.
1842, Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circulation:
- If they discern any evidences of wrong-going in any direction that I have indicated, they will acknowledge that I had reason in what I wrote. If they discern no such thing, they will consider me altogether mistaken.
- (transitive) To distinguish something as being different from something else; to differentiate.
1651, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan:
- The severity of judgement, they say, makes men censorious and unapt to pardon the errors and infirmities of other men: and on the other side, celerity of fancy makes the thoughts less steady than is necessary to discern exactly between right and wrong.
- He was too young to discern right from wrong.
- (intransitive) To perceive differences.
to detect with the senses, especially with the eyes
to perceive, recognize or comprehend with the mind; to descry
to distinguish something as being different from something else; to differentiate
to perceive differences
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