verb (used with object)
- to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend: They discerned a sail on the horizon.
- to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: He is incapable of discerning right from wrong.
verb (used without object)
- to distinguish or discriminate.
- (tr) to recognize or perceive clearly
- to recognize or perceive (differences)
late 14c., from Old French discerner (13c.) “distinguish (between), separate” (by sifting), and directly from Latin discernere “to separate, set apart, divide, distribute; distinguish, perceive,” from dis- “off, away” (see dis-) + cernere “distinguish, separate, sift” (see crisis). Related: Discerned; discerning.