AskDefine | Define discern

Dictionary Definition

discern v : detect with the senses; "The fleeing convicts were picked out of the darkness by the watchful prison guards"; "I can't make out the faces in this photograph" [syn: recognize, recognise, distinguish, pick out, make out, tell apart]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (UK) /dɪˈsɜːn/, /dI"s3:n/
  • (US) /dɪˈsɝn/, /dI"s3`n/


From discerner.


  1. To detect with the senses, especially with the eyes.
  2. To perceive, recognize, or comprehend with the mind; to descry.
  3. To distinguish something as being different from something else; to differentiate.
    He was too young to discern right from wrong.
  4. To perceive differences.


To detect with the senses, especially with the eyes
To perceive, recognize or comprehend with the mind; to descry
  • Greek: διακρίνω
  • Finnish: havaita
  • Spanish: vislumbrar
To distinguish something as being different from something else; to differentiate
  • Greek: διακρίνω
  • Finnish: erottaa
To perceive differences

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

anticipate, appreciate, apprehend, ascertain, be acquainted with, be apprised of, be aware of, be cognizant of, be conscious of, be conversant with, be informed, behold, catch sight of, clap eyes on, cognize, come alive, comprehend, conceive, conceptualize, descry, detect, difference, differentiate, discover, discriminate, distinguish, divine, espy, extricate, fathom, foresee, glimpse, grasp, have, have in sight, have information about, have knowledge of, identify, ken, know, lay eyes on, look on, look upon, make out, note, notice, observe, penetrate, perceive, pick out, pick up, pierce, plumb, possess, prehend, realize, recognize, remark, savvy, see, see daylight, see into, see the light, see through, seize, sense, separate, sever, sight, spot, spy, take in, twig, understand, view, witness, wot, wot of
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