If you can make out, pick out, or distinguish something, you can discern it. This is a word for recognizing and perceiving things.

  • Pronunciation: / dɪ'sɝn/
  • English description: detect with the senses
  • Synonyms: distinguish
  • Chinese Translation: 识别(shi2 bie2)
  • Spanish Translation: discernir
  • ORIGIN: Discerning has to do with being able to see or hear something. In a loud room, it can be hard to discern one person's voice. If there's not much light, you'll have trouble discerning the words on a page well enough to read. If you have sloppy handwriting, then it's hard to discern what you wrote. When you can discern something, you can tell what it is; you can identify it.


  • However, as deals became more complex in the second half of the year, investors became more discerning.
  • TIt is difficult to discern which incidents merit action.

*New word description, story and part of "EXAMPLE SENTENCE" are cited in Vocabulary.com