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discerning

[dih-sur-ning, -zur-] /dɪˈsɜr nɪŋ, -ˈzɜr-/
adjective
1.
showing good or outstanding judgment and understanding:
a discerning critic of French poetry.
Origin of discerning
1600-1610
1600-10; discern + -ing2
Related forms
discerningly, adverb
nondiscerning, adjective
undiscerning, adjective
undiscerningly, adverb
Synonyms
perceptive, keen, sharp, discriminating.

discern

[dih-surn, -zurn] /dɪˈsɜrn, -ˈzɜrn/
verb (used with object)
1.
to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend:
They discerned a sail on the horizon.
2.
to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate:
He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
verb (used without object)
3.
to distinguish or discriminate.
Origin
1300-50; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin discernere to separate, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + cernere to separate
Related forms
discerner, noun
prediscern, verb (used with object)
undiscerned, adjective
Synonyms
1. discover, descry, espy. See notice. 2, 3. differentiate, judge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for discerning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The keen visions of these birds are not slow in discerning through the gloomy recesses the presence of danger.

  • “You are as discerning as ever,” murmured the land baron––for it was Edward Mauville.

    The Strollers Frederic S. Isham
  • Where sounds are lacking, of what use is the faculty of discerning them?

  • An English judge and an English jury were to him the Palladium of discerning truth.

    Orley Farm Anthony Trollope
  • To none save a cold, discerning man from her own land was she transparent.

    Castle Craneycrow George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for discerning

discerning

/dɪˈsɜːnɪŋ/
adjective
1.
having or showing good taste or judgment; discriminating
Derived Forms
discerningly, adverb

discern

/dɪˈsɜːn/
verb
1.
(transitive) to recognize or perceive clearly
2.
to recognize or perceive (differences)
Derived Forms
discerner, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere to divide, from dis-1 (apart) + cernere to separate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for discerning

"action of perceiving," late 14c., verbal noun from discern. As a present participle adjective, attested from c.1600.

discern

v.

late 14c., from Old French discerner (13c.) "distinguish (between), separate" (by sifting), and directly from Latin discernere "to separate, set apart, divide, distribute; distinguish, perceive," from dis- "off, away" (see dis-) + cernere "distinguish, separate, sift" (see crisis). Related: Discerned; discerning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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