• WordNet 3.6
    • n discernment the trait of judging wisely and objectively "a man of discernment"
    • n discernment the mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations
    • n discernment perception of that which is obscure
    • n discernment delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values) "arrogance and lack of taste contributed to his rapid success","to ask at that particular time was the ultimate in bad taste"
    • n discernment the cognitive condition of someone who understands "he has virtually no understanding of social cause and effect"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: On a clear night in the Northern Hemisphere the naked eye can discern some 5000 stars.
    • Discernment The act of discerning.
    • Discernment The power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another; power of viewing differences in objects, and their relations and tendencies; penetrative and discriminate mental vision; acuteness; sagacity; insight; as, the errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment .
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n discernment The act of discerning.
    • n discernment Acuteness of judgment; discrimination; a considerable power of perceiving differences in regard to matters of morals and conduct: as, the errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment; also, the faculty of distinguishing; the exercise of this faculty.
    • n discernment Synonyms Penetration, Discrimination, Discernment, judgment, intelligence, acuteness, acumen, clear-sightedness, sagacity, shrewdness, insight. Penetration, or insight, goes to the heart of a subject, reads the inmost character, etc. Discrimination marks the differences in what it finds. Discernment combines both these ideas.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Discernment power or faculty of discriminating: judgment: acuteness
    • ***


  • Francis Bacon
    “Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied.”
  • Lord Byron
    “Her great merit is finding out mine -- there is nothing so amiable as discernment.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Eighteen might look at thirty-four through a rising mist of adolescence; but twenty-two would see thirty-eight with discerning clarity.”
  • John Milton
    “For neither man nor angel can discern hypocrisy, the only evil that walks invisible, except to God alone.”
  • Robert Wilson
    Robert Wilson
    “Once something becomes discernible, or understandable, we no longer need to repeat it. We can destroy it.”
  • Carl Jung
    “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”


Discerning eye - If a person has a discerning eye, they are particularly good at judging the quality of something.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. discernement,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. discern˘eredis, thoroughly, and cernĕre, to sift, perceive.


In literature:

The discerning eye of a rider saw the signs of a long, arduous trip.
"Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey
One man of them is certain; one man of them discerns and dares!
"The French Revolution" by Thomas Carlyle
At length the Parsonage was discernible.
"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
Its workings can be discerned in the experience of us all.
"A Straight Deal" by Owen Wister
The figures were too far for discerning which fired it.
"The Jimmyjohn Boss and Other Stories" by Owen Wister
He discerned fatal ignorance and absurdity between the pompous lines.
"Where the Blue Begins" by Christopher Morley
Are suppositions of this sort the sober admonitions of discerning patriots to a discerning people?
"The Federalist Papers" by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
All I can discern is, that it will, to a dead certainty, turn one way or the other on the day when she passes Noel Vanstone's doors in disguise.
"No Name" by Wilkie Collins
Through all this agitation a discerning eye might have perceived that the public opinion was gradually changing.
"The History of England from the Accession of James II." by Thomas Babington Macaulay
Credit the management of the Gymnase with tack and discernment; will it do to say intelligence?
"A Distinguished Provincial at Paris" by Honore de Balzac

In poetry:

Within the wind, my untaught ear
The voice of Deity can hear,
And in the fleeting cloud discern
His movements, vast and taciturn;
For in the universe I trace
The wondrous grandeur of His face.
"As The Indian." by Alfred Castner King
The Word which the reason of Plato discerned;
The truth, as whose symbol the Mithra-fire burned;
The soul of the world which the Stoic but guessed,
In the Light Universal the Quaker confessed!
"The Quaker Alumni" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Its rhythmic motion, tuned to time,
Its awful rush, yet sure return,
Make even our dim orb sublime,
And we at last the truth discern,--
With God is neither small nor great,
Nor soon, nor late.
"Life's Trilogy" by John Lawson Stoddard
At last we knew. And when we learned
How he had fallen, Margaret
Wept; and, albeit my eyes were wet,
Within my soul I half discerned
A joy that mingled with regret,
A grief that to relief was turned.
"The Brothers" by Madison Julius Cawein
As envy pines at good possess’d,
So jealously looks forth distress’d
On good that seems approaching;
And, if success his steps attend,
Discerns a rival in a friend,
And hates him for encroaching.
"Friendship" by William Cowper
And this is prayer: from self to turn
Thee-ward, and learn
Our life's veiled angels to discern.
Filled with Thy light
We hate the damning evil, love the right:
Awake with Thee, there is in us no night.
"Praying Always" by Lucy Larcom

In news:

You'd think the press could resist the he said-she said copy when the truth is easy to discern.
Known for its consistent and superior quality, the Merckens brand of premium chocolate and Rainbow coatings have become a top choice among discerning chocolate retail confectioners for more than 85 years.
This selection of 25 works from the collection of Dr Torsten Wiesel, the Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist, is a result of a discerning eye that has ranged across cultures and centuries.
Most enthusiasts can discern a 21-year-old Scotch from its 12-year-old sibling, but why.
A Company Catering To The Needs Of Discerning LGBT Travelers.
Thanks to " Argo ," discerning film fans can finally stop complaining about movies lacking originality.
Sometimes that perspective is more difficult to discern than others.
Anyone who has ever heard Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt on KCRW knows that he is a discerning reader with an eye for detail.
With sushi and gourmet burgers, Splitsville Luxury Lanes, is likely to be right up the alley for bowlers with discerning palates.
All things wedding for the discerning bride -to-be.
Cues that a family medicine or pediatric practice is welcoming to adolescents can be discerned well before the first visit.
Confidence is that rare trait that emerges from within us but is also discernible to an observer.
Memo Cassette 's scores are enigmatically full of symbols that hint toward some kind of rhyme or reason that's hard to discern when following along to the music.
The system is a nice statement on both companies' parts, in that it caters to discerning music enthusiasts who really want a bit more out of their digitally stored music.
It will require a careful reading to discern where and when probable cause or a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity will be required as to cellphones , or if such requirements are relaxed or eroded...

In science:

We realize that even though small in magnitude, the jet-jet and jet-thermal contributions may still give a discernible feature to the back-to-back correlation of charm-quarks at RHIC.
Heavy Quark Production from Relativistic Heavy Ion Collisions
Thus we feel that a high statistics data may still be able to discern the contribution of processes other than initial fusion to the back-to-back correlation.
Heavy Quark Production from Relativistic Heavy Ion Collisions
This may even be discernible for back-to-back correlation of bottom quarks at LHC.
Heavy Quark Production from Relativistic Heavy Ion Collisions
For causes that we have not yet discerned, we sometimes measure spectra that are like what we measured in the first studies of the cavity spectra (blue traces in Fig. 10).
Cavity Control of a Single-Electron Quantum Cyclotron:\\Measuring the Electron Magnetic Moment
At T (cid:28) Tc , the switching current is only weakly dependent on temperature; however the ”phase temperature” is experimentally discernable from the width σs of the switching histograms.
Cavity sideband cooling of the Josephson phase