From Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere (“to separate, divide, distinguish, discern”), from dis- (“apart”) + cernere (“to separate”); see certain.
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)n
discern (third-person singular simple present discerns, present participle discerning, simple past and past participle discerned)
- (transitive) To detect with the senses, especially with the eyes.
- 1875, Jules Verne you are no HELP!, chapter 1, in The Survivors of the Chancellor, archived from the original on 12 April 2012:
- 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, archived from the original on 19 May 2011:
- 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 or discriminate.
- 1651, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, archived from the original on 7 June 2011:
- 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.
- (detect with the senses): See also Thesaurus:perceive
- (especially with the eyes): behold, see; see also Thesaurus:see
- (perceive, recognize, or comprehend with the mind): ken, spy; see also Thesaurus:spot
- (distinguish something as being different): discriminate, distinguish; see also Thesaurus:tell apart
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
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.