[dih-surn, -zurn]
verb (used with object)
to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend: They discerned a sail on the horizon.
to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
verb (used without object)
to distinguish or discriminate.

1300–50; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin discernere to separate, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + cernere to separate

discerner, noun
prediscern, verb (used with object)
undiscerned, adjective

1. discover, descry, espy. See notice. 2, 3. differentiate, judge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To discern
World English Dictionary
discern (dɪˈsɜːn)
1.  (tr) to recognize or perceive clearly
2.  to recognize or perceive (differences)
[C14: from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere to divide, from dis-1 (apart) + cernere to separate]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. discerner "distinguish, separate" (by sifting), from L. discernere, from dis- "off, away" + cernere "distinguish, separate, sift" (see crisis). Related: Discerned.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Geographers use maps as tools to discern patterns and to understand why things
  are where they are.
If thou mayst discern by that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to the
  sight of him.
We have a lot of rain ahead, depending on which direction it's moving, which I
  have been unable to discern so far.
But what is important is we should have enough intelligence to discern between
  truth and a lie.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature