- Discern is defined as to recognize someone or something as different from someone or something else.
An example of discern is being able to pick a friend out of a crowd.
To discern is to be able to pick a friend out of a crowd.
- to separate (a thing) mentally from another or others; recognize as separate or different
- to perceive or recognize; make out clearly
Origin of discernMiddle English discernen ; from Old French discerner ; from Classical Latin discernere ; from dis-, apart + cernere, to separate: see harvest
transitive verbdis·cerned, dis·cern·ing, dis·cerns
- To perceive with the eyes; detect or distinguish: discern a figure in the shadows.
- To recognize or understand as being distinct or different: Researchers finally discerned the purpose of the gene. See Synonyms at see1.
Origin of discernMiddle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere, to separate : dis-, apart; see dis– + cernere, to perceive; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present discerns, present participle discerning, simple past and past participle discerned)