Synonyms & Antonyms of discernment

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Frequently Asked Questions About discernment

How does the noun discernment differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of discernment are acumen, discrimination, insight, penetration, and perception. While all these words mean "a power to see what is not evident to the average mind," discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art).

the discernment to know true friends

When can acumen be used instead of discernment?

While in some cases nearly identical to discernment, acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment.

a director of reliable box-office acumen

In what contexts can discrimination take the place of discernment?

The words discrimination and discernment are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent.

the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music

When is insight a more appropriate choice than discernment?

The words insight and discernment can be used in similar contexts, but insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy.

a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless

When might penetration be a better fit than discernment?

The meanings of penetration and discernment largely overlap; however, penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial.

lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles

When is it sensible to use perception instead of discernment?

While the synonyms perception and discernment are close in meaning, perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling).

a novelist of keen perception into human motives

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Time Traveler for discernment

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The first known use of discernment was in 1570

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Cite this Entry

“Discernment.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on discernment

Nglish: Translation of discernment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discernment for Arabic Speakers


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