Definition of discern in US English:

discern

verb

[with object]
  • 1Perceive or recognize (something)

    ‘I can discern no difference between the two policies’
    with clause ‘students quickly discern what is acceptable to the teacher’
    • ‘The historical setting never feels remote, as echoes of our days can be discerned between the lines.’
    • ‘Between the two names, no effective difference can be discerned.’
    • ‘Readers will have readily discerned a further symbol.’
    • ‘There is no obvious reason, no cyclical pattern that can be discerned for these ups and downs.’
    • ‘Much could be discerned about national style from the effort.’
    • ‘Many symbols have been discerned in his pictures.’
    • ‘From the annals of Indian history, it can be discerned that the role of women in the society is no less than men.’
    • ‘Even now her life has been dissected, and the verdicts returned, we are no closer to discerning the real person.’
    • ‘It is up to the teacher to discern which students are up to the task and which are not.’
    • ‘So far, what can be discerned from the main manifestos is an almost complete consensus.’
    • ‘And the polls suggest that the benign effects of increased government spending have at last been discerned by the electorate.’
    • ‘Like coin tosses, there may be no salient causation to be discerned in the outcomes.’
    • ‘Four major periods may be discerned in its development.’
    • ‘Several types of racism and violence can be discerned.’
    • ‘Perhaps they failed to do so because they have not developed much of a pattern from which the early draft of history can be discerned.’
    • ‘With its limited focus upon a day where a number of important issues came to a head, incomplete or biased coverage could quickly be discerned.’
    • ‘All the landholding data he cited pertained to a single point of time from which no time-trend can possibly be discerned.’
    • ‘A very similar syndrome can be discerned in the government's handling of security on airlines.’
    • ‘Such an analysis entails establishing whether a judgemental stance can be discerned in the items being coded and what the nature of the judgements is.’
    • ‘In many cases, statistically significant differences could be discerned by participants.’
    find out, discover, come to know, get to know, work out, make out, fathom, fathom out, become aware of, learn, ferret out, dig out, dig up, establish, fix, determine, settle, decide, verify, make certain of, confirm, deduce, divine, intuit, diagnose, perceive, see, realize, appreciate, identify, pin down, recognize, register, understand, grasp, take in, comprehend
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Distinguish (someone or something) with difficulty by sight or with the other senses.
      ‘she could faintly discern the shape of a skull’
      • ‘Using touch alone it's difficult to discern individual buttons on this phone.’
      • ‘Some of their protuberances project close to a metre above what can be vaguely discerned as the original road surface.’
      • ‘The sauce was thick, almost like a gravy, and bits of squid and various other fruits of the sea could be discerned in it.’
      • ‘The dense foliage and shrubs made discerning the steepness very difficult until you were actually up in the gulley scrambling around.’
      • ‘And then, he slowly discerned the shape of a grotesque beast, clamping to the trunk as if its skin and the brown bark were one.’
      • ‘A laugh, golden and delicious, floated up to him on the breeze and he leaned over the railing, peering down and faintly discerning the hedge wall of the royal garden beneath him.’
      • ‘A charming, and thankfully short, tune with two different and rather difficult to discern time signatures.’
      • ‘They seem to be able to discern flavours more easily and to identify, discriminate and remember flavours better.’
      • ‘As I approached the chair I was able to discern some, but not all, of their characteristics.’
      • ‘Sea conditions were similar to the day before, and I was able to discern the shape of the wreck from 60m on.’
      • ‘They began to discern shapes, touching them and discovering them again as if from new.’
      • ‘Her eyes barely discerned the shape of the hollow log across the river.’
      • ‘An observant viewer of the Double portrait will discern the remains of a burnt-out candle in the front right sconce.’
      • ‘Her feline sensitive ears could discern a distinct cry coming from each man's mouth.’
      • ‘I could barely discern the huddled shape of my parents standing in their doorway.’
      • ‘Only those with dyslexia had difficulty discerning the beat in continuous sounds containing sudden rises and falls in loudness, as in such speech transitions as sweet.’
      • ‘He discerns a vague sense of creepiness, as if the shadows of the night are trying to communicate the strange message he is delivering.’
      • ‘One hand shading his eyes, he discerns either two people or two life-sized statues seated facing each other at a vintage picnic table at the very back of a great and empty white room.’
      • ‘The fingers keep up their exploratory wiggling, each discovering how far it can reach and in what directions it can move, each discerning the shape and feel of the others.’
      • ‘It gives us some of the infrared we need to discern the shapes in the current darkness.’
      perceive, make out, pick out, detect, recognize, notice, observe, see, spot
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin discernere, from dis- ‘apart’ + cernere ‘to separate’.

Pronunciation

discern

/dəˈsərn//dəˈsərn/