Definition of discern
1 a : to detect with the eyes <discerned a figure approaching through the fog> b : to detect with senses other than vision <discerned a strange odor>
3 : to come to know or recognize mentally <unable to discern his motives>
: to see or understand the difference
Examples of discern
A careful analysis of the “Nutrition Facts” panels might provide some guidance, but you would have to do a lot of math before you could discern the best choice. —David L. Katz, O, The Oprah Magazine, August 2008
The ability to discern value at a glimpse, to sift the useful out of the rejected with as little expenditure of energy as possible, is the great talent of the scavenger. —Matthew Power, Harper's, December 2006
Astronomers are delighted to have found 19 galaxies that appear to be bent out of shape. The distorted images are cosmic mirages, arcs or rings of light created when the gravity of a massive foreground object bends and magnifies the light from a galaxy lying behind it. Albert Einstein predicted the effect … in 1936, but telescopes at the time weren't powerful enough to discern it. —R. Cowen, Science News, 21 Jan. 2006
Despite the layers of ironic hesitation, the reader soon discerns that the emotions informing the book are raw and, more importantly, authentic. —Publishers Weekly, 13 Dec. 1999
The reasons behind this sudden change are difficult to discern.
<barely able to discern the garden gate through the mist>
Rhymes with discern
Seen and Heard
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