Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “discern”


verb [T]     /dɪˈsɜːn/ US  /-ˈsɝːn/ formal
to see , recognize , or understand something that is not clear : I could just discern a figure in the darkness . It is difficult to discern any pattern in these figures .Using the eyesEyesight, glasses and lensesThe eye and surrounding areaPerceptiveUnderstanding and comprehending
(Definition of discern verb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of discern

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Understanding and comprehending, but you might be interested in these topics from the Knowing and understanding topic area:

Definitions of “discern” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


to pour liquid slowly over something, especially in a thin line or in small drops

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More