Definition of discernment in English:



  • 1The ability to judge well.

    ‘an astonishing lack of discernment’
    • ‘Invariably, they pay tribute to his powers of discernment.’
    • ‘His prediction was impeccable though, and his discernment true.’
    • ‘It could even be lack of discernment on the part of the reviewer.’
    • ‘We might have been adolescent girls, but we were also intelligent young women with discernment and judgement.’
    • ‘In other words, dawning the robes of a preacher didn't imbue you with wisdom, intelligence and discernment.’
    • ‘I yet lack discernment to distinguish the whole lesson of today; but it is not lost, - it will come to me at last.’
    • ‘Fortunately, computers that completely replicate human taste, discernment, and creativity have yet to be developed.’
    • ‘But try to drink with a little taste and discernment.’
    • ‘The complete article shows quite clearly how the reporter resented being treated as if she had no discernment nor common sense.’
    • ‘The ability to pick out one's adult friend from a group photograph taken in his youth seems an unremarkable task and yet requires remarkable powers of discernment.’
    • ‘They possess capacities for discernment and the ability to decide what is in their best interest.’
    • ‘Despite his ability for discernment and honesty, you still come away thinking he is stuck in a life of cliched fixations.’
    • ‘His eyes were focused with discernment and awareness.’
    • ‘What is within a chef's grasp, however, is the ability to maximize the essence of his or her dish by developing a refined sense of discernment when choosing ingredients.’
    • ‘Drugs will almost certainly be developed that will enhance the training of the mind to increase specific types of sensitivity and discernment of sensory signals.’
    • ‘He was planning to rely on their lack of discernment, wasn't he?’
    • ‘The hotel is much favoured by people of taste and discernment.’
    • ‘It is up to us to cultivate discernment, and distinguish between that which is essential, and that which is simply the contingent effect of social and cultural mores.’
    • ‘But I need to plead with you to handle this crisis with wisdom and discernment.’
    • ‘‘We appeal to you to guard against excessive indulgence and lack of discernment in behavioural patterns,’ he said.’
    judgement, taste, discrimination, refinement, cultivation, sophistication, enlightenment, sensitivity, subtlety
    insight, perceptiveness, perception, perspicacity
    astuteness, acumen, shrewdness, ingeniousness, cleverness, intelligence, sharpness, wisdom, erudition, awareness, sagacity
    View synonyms
  • 2(in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.

    ‘without providing for a time of healing and discernment, there will be no hope of living through this present moment without a shattering of our common life’
    • ‘We need more experiments in Christian discernment like this one.’
    • ‘As a teenager, I switched to an evangelical congregation because it paid more attention to spiritual practices of prayer, discernment, Bible study, and worship.’
    • ‘Or they may represent a mixture of historical recollection and spiritual discernment, as in many of the stories of the Bible.’
    • ‘By the time of his death, he would push questions of spiritual discernment perhaps further than any other contemporary saint.’
    • ‘Other congregations enter this circle of grace through other Christian practices: discernment, testimony, healing, or peacemaking.’