- 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 separate (a thing) mentally from another or others; recognize as separate or different
- to perceive or recognize; make out clearly
Origin: Middle English discernen ; from Old French discerner ; from Classical Latin discernere ; from dis-, apart plush cernere, to separate: see harvest
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb dis·cerned, dis·cern·ing, dis·cerns verb, transitive
- To perceive with the eyes or intellect; detect.
- To recognize or comprehend mentally.
- To perceive or recognize as being different or distinct; distinguish. See Synonyms at see1.
Origin: Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere, to separate : dis-, apart; see dis- + cernere, to perceive; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
- dis·cernˈer noun