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

Definition of discerning

: showing insight and understanding : discriminating a discerning critic

Other Words from discerning

discerningly \ di-​ˈsər-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce discerning (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
Recent Examples on the Web Brands are becoming more discerning with their spending and even more cautious about their environmental footprint. Outside Online, 11 July 2022 In our interview this week, Jennifer Daniel, chair of Unicode’s emoji subcommittee, explained that the dwindling number of new emoji signals a stricter, more discerning vetting process within the standards organization. Anne Quito, Quartz, 17 July 2022 Paolo Martorano Bespoke was established in 2017 when its founder was just 25 years old, but its quality has attracted some of menswear’s most discerning vets. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 23 June 2022 The fearful and self-sufficient girl inside of me began to soften into a humbled and discerning woman. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 June 2022 We're probably definitely biased but this Adirondack chair from our new Country Living collection with Polywood is the perfect perch for any discerning CG. Hannah Jones, Country Living, 29 Apr. 2022 Think of 1stdibs as the more discerning older sister to Etsy (and eBay and any other marketplace-style etailer). Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 26 Apr. 2022 The best hope perhaps would be to at least train people on having a discerning view of whatever advice an AI system provides. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Collins was merely applying the same discerning judgment about the characteristics that should serve to disqualify a nominee for the Supreme Court. Charlie Dent, CNN, 3 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of discerning was in 1589

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Discerning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discerning. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on discerning

Nglish: Translation of discerning for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discerning for Arabic Speakers


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