Other forms: discernments

Discernment is the ability to make a smart judgment about something. If you're voting for Student Council President, you need to use discernment to pick the best candidate.

The noun discernment describes a wise way of judging between things, or a particularly perceptive way of seeing things. If you can understand something that's somewhat hidden or obscure — if you figure out the themes of a confusing movie, for example — you're using discernment. It comes from the Latin word discernere, meaning "separate." Discernment separates what's important or true from what's not.

Definitions of discernment
  1. noun
    the cognitive condition of someone who understands
    synonyms: apprehension, savvy, understanding
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    an ability to understand the meaning or importance of something (or the knowledge acquired as a result)
    an understanding of yourself and your goals and abilities
    a slight or superficial understanding of a subject
    appreciation, grasp, hold
    understanding of the nature or meaning or quality or magnitude of something
    understanding with difficulty
    understanding the nature of an event after it has happened
    brainstorm, brainwave, insight
    the clear (and often sudden) understanding of a complex situation
    realisation, realization, recognition
    coming to understand something clearly and distinctly
    a natural appreciation or ability
    mental understanding as an enlightening experience
    an enlightening or astonishing disclosure
    breakthrough, discovery, find
    a productive insight
    a sudden brilliant understanding
    type of:
    a clear and certain mental apprehension
  2. noun
    the mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations
    synonyms: judgement, judgment, sagaciousness, sagacity
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    good discernment (either visually or as if visually)
    common sense, good sense, gumption, horse sense, mother wit, sense
    sound practical judgment
    good judgment
    circumspection, discreetness, discretion, prudence
    knowing how to avoid embarrassment or distress
    indiscreetness, injudiciousness
    lacking good judgment
    reasoned and reasonable judgment
    common sense
    road sense
    good judgment in avoiding trouble or accidents on the road
    discretion in keeping secret information
    care, caution, forethought, precaution
    judiciousness in avoiding harm or danger
    type of:
    sapience, wisdom
    ability to apply knowledge or experience or understanding or common sense and insight
  3. noun
    the trait of judging wisely and objectively
    “a man of discernment
    synonyms: discretion
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    caution, circumspection
    the trait of being circumspect and prudent
    discretion in practical affairs
    the trait of practicing caution in advance
    chariness, wariness
    the trait of being cautious and watchful
    the prudence and care exercised by someone in the management of resources
    frugality, frugalness
    prudence in avoiding waste
    type of:
    wisdom, wiseness
    the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight
  4. noun
    delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values)
    synonyms: appreciation, perceptiveness, taste
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    connoisseurship, vertu, virtu
    love of or taste for fine objects of art
    style, trend, vogue
    the popular taste at a given time
    delicacy, discretion
    refined taste; tact
    the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
    New Look
    a style of women's clothing created by Christian Dior in 1947; involved a tight bodice and narrow waist and a flowing pleated skirt
    the latest and most admired style in clothes and cosmetics and behavior
    a popular trend that attracts growing support
    a culture with lifestyles and values opposed to those of the established culture
    mass culture
    the culture that is widely disseminated via the mass media
    the literary culture
    pop culture, popular culture
    the art, media, and ideas preferred by ordinary people, rather than the educated elite
    type of:
    discrimination, secernment
    the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished
  5. noun
    perception of that which is obscure
    synonyms: perceptiveness
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    type of:
    knowledge gained by perceiving
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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘discernment'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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