dis·​cern·​ing | \ di-ˈsər-niŋ How to pronounce discerning (audio) \

Definition of discerning

: showing insight and understanding : discriminating a discerning critic

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Other Words from discerning

discerningly \ di-​ˈsər-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce discerningly (audio) , -​ˈzər-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for discerning



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Examples of discerning in a Sentence

Why should a discerning writer concern himself with such movies as Troy, Alexander, or 300? The answer is that he is uniquely qualified to transmute such trash into illuminating visions of the culturally confused age in which we live. — G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books, 6 Nov. 2008 Many of FreshDirect's customers say they are using the service because food shopping in Manhattan can be agonizing. But the question is whether discerning food shoppers will trust it. — Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2002 Who reads short stories? one is asked, and I like to think that they are read by men and women in the dentist's office, waiting to be called to the chair; they are read on transcontinental plane trips … they are read by discerning and well-informed men and women who seem to feel that narrative fiction can contribute to our understanding of one another and the sometimes bewildering world around us. — John Cheever, The Story and Its Writer, 1987 She has a discerning eye for good art. a discerning critic of modern art
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Recent Examples on the Web What started out as inexpensive dorm-like spaces catering to backpackers have blossomed into properties that even the most discerning travelers are happy to check into. Chadner Navarro, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Hostels Are Going Socially Distant While Keeping Their DNA," 25 June 2020 The tails kick as the lures fall, so a simple lift and drop retrieve is enough to convince even the most discerning striper to bite. John Merwin, Field & Stream, "The 25 Best Striper Surf Lures of All Time," 23 Oct. 2019 The people of western North Carolina are wise and discerning. Fox News, "Madison Cawthorn, 24-year-old who won GOP primary in NC, says Trump congratulated him on 'beautiful' win," 24 June 2020 The people of western North Carolina are wise and discerning. CBS News, "Madison Cawthorn, 24, beats Trump's pick in North Carolina GOP House primary," 24 June 2020 To call her a discerning grocery shopper would be an understatement. Matthew Boyle, Bloomberg.com, "Americans, It Turns Out, Would Rather Visit a Store Than Buy Food Online," 3 June 2020 But with the novel coronavirus having claimed more than 60,000 lives in the United States alone, the Wuhan-U.S. academia trail is now being met with an even more discerning eye from Washington. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Prominent university bio lab urged to reveal extent of relationship with Wuhan lab at center of coronavirus outbreak," 1 May 2020 Terry, a tough-talking yet tender-hearted dancer, dissects the production and its players in coarse but discerning terms. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Read and Stream: The Remarkable Out-of-Print Book That Inspired “42nd Street”," 6 May 2020 His biography is a model of restraint, interlacing what is by now the rather familiar story of Marx’s career with concise but discerning insights into Marx’s achievements as a social theorist. Peter E. Gordon, The New Republic, "Karl Marx’s Prophetic Longing," 6 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discerning.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of discerning

1589, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for discerning

from present participle of discern

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Time Traveler for discerning

Time Traveler

The first known use of discerning was in 1589

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Statistics for discerning

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discerning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discerning. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for discerning


How to pronounce discerning (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of discerning

: able to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently

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