1. The act of discerning.

2. The power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another; power of viewing differences in objects, and their relations and tendencies; penetrative and discriminate mental vision; acuteness; sagacity; insight; as, the errors of youth often proceed from the want of discernment.

Synonyms: Judgment, acuteness, discrimination, penetration, sagacity, insight.

Discernment, Penetration, Discrimination. Discernment is keenness and accuracy of mental vision, penetration is the power of seeing deeply into a subject in spite of everything that intercepts the view, discrimination is a capacity of tracing out minute distinctions and the nicest shades of thought. A discerning man is not easily misled, one of a penetrating mind sees a multitude of things which escape others, a discriminating judgment detects the slightest differences.

Origin: Cf. F. Discernement.

(01 Mar 1998)