The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Discern \Dis*cern"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Discerned; p. pr. &
vb. n. Discerning.] [F. discerner, L. discernere,
discretum; dis- + cernere to separate, distinguish. See
Certain, and cf. Discreet.]
1. To see and identify by noting a difference or differences;
to note the distinctive character of; to discriminate; to
To discern such buds as are fit to produce blossoms.
A counterfeit stone which thine eye can not discern
from a right stone. --Robynson
2. To see by the eye or by the understanding; to perceive and
recognize; as, to discern a difference.
And [I] beheld among the simple ones, I discerned
among the youths, a young man void of understanding.
Our unassisted sight . . . is not acute enough to
discern the minute texture of visible objects.
I wake, and I discern the truth. --Tennyson.
Syn: To perceive; distinguish; discover; penetrate;
discriminate; espy; descry; detect. See Perceive.