English

Definition of discern verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    discern

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrn//
     
    (not used in the progressive tenses) (formal)Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they discern
    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrn//
     
    he / she / it discerns
    BrE BrE//dɪˈsɜːnz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈsɜːrnz//
     
    past simple discerned
    BrE BrE//dɪˈsɜːnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈsɜːrnd//
     
    past participle discerned
    BrE BrE//dɪˈsɜːnd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈsɜːrnd//
     
    past simple discerning
    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːnɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrnɪŋ//
     
    past participle discerning
    BrE BrE//ˈsɜːnɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsɜːrnɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1to know, recognize or understand something, especially something that is not obvious synonym detect discern something It is possible to discern a number of different techniques in her work. He discerned a certain coldness in their welcome. discern how, whether, etc… It is often difficult to discern how widespread public support is. discern that… I quickly discerned that something was wrong.
  2. 2discern something to see or hear something, usually with difficulty synonym make out We could just discern the house in the distance. She could clearly discern a figure walking up towards the house.
  3. Word Origin late Middle English: via Old French from Latin discernere, from dis- ‘apart’ + cernere ‘to separate’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: discern