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Discern   /dɪsˈərn/   Listen
Discern

verb
(past & past part. discerned; pres. part. discerning)
1.
Detect with the senses.  Synonyms: distinguish, make out, pick out, recognise, recognize, spot, tell apart.  "I can't make out the faces in this photograph"



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"Discern" Quotes from Famous Books



... made, and however firmly he adhered to his resolution of silence, the hypochondria from which he suffered could not escape the notice of the 'grand chasserot'. He was not clear-sighted enough to discern the causes, but he could observe the effects. It provoked him to find that all his efforts to enliven his cousin had proved futile. He had cudgelled his brains to comprehend whence came these fits of terrible melancholy, and, judging Julien by himself, came to the conclusion that his ...
— A Woodland Queen, Complete • Andre Theuriet

... marked. My left hand, however, is seemly, with fingers long, tapering, and well-set, and shining nails. My neck is longer and thinner than the rule, my chin is divided, my lower lip thick and pendulous, my eyes are very small, and it is my wont to keep them half-closed, peradventure lest I should discern things over clearly. My forehead is wide and bare of hair where it meets the temples. My hair and beard are both of them yellow in tint, and both as a rule kept close cut. My chin, which as I have said already is marked by a division, is covered in its ...
— Jerome Cardan - A Biographical Study • William George Waters

... to knowledge spring up round the very tree itself—for surely if there was much wrong, I would not tell it of those who seem inclined to find all right in me; nor can I think that a fame for minute observation, and skill to discern folly with a microscopic eye, is in any wise able to compensate for the corrosions of conscience, where such discoveries have been attained by breach of confidence, and treachery towards unguarded, because unsuspecting innocence of conduct. We are always laughing at one another for running ...
— Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany, Vol. I • Hester Lynch Piozzi

... of th' elect,— O dear and future vision That eager hearts expect! Ev'n now by faith I see thee, Ev'n here thy walls discern; To thee my thoughts are kindled, And ...
— The Otterbein Hymnal - For Use in Public and Social Worship • Edmund S. Lorenz

... At his right, a pond, some five acres in extent, lay at the base of cliff-like rocks topped with a few primeval pines. Everywhere there were barren sheep pastures alternating with acres of stunted fir and hemlock, and in sheltered nooks, adjacent to these coverts, he could discern something which he judged to be stone sheepfolds. Just below him, on the opposite side of the road and the Rothel, which was crossed by a broad bridging of log and plank, stood a long low stone house, to the north of which a double row of firs ...
— Flamsted quarries • Mary E. Waller

... possessing, to the cold blast and dripping grass of a bivouac. Night, however, fell fast; darkness, without an intervening twilight, set in, and we lost our way. A bleak table-land with here and there a stunted, leafless tree was all that we could discern by the pale light of a new moon. An apparently interminable heath uncrossed by path or foot-track was before us, and our jaded cattle seemed to feel the dreary uncertainty of the prospect as sensitively as ourselves,—stumbling and ...
— Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 1 (of 2) • Charles Lever

... He realizes all the distance, but cannot with his utmost effort decipher what it contains. And that very inability in him is the strongest weapon that she holds. He sees the distance, yet there is none. No wonder that he cannot discern its contents. There is no distance. She is looking inwards—not outwards; searching her own mind, searching his, and only playing the game of contemplation to hide ...
— Sally Bishop - A Romance • E. Temple Thurston

... himself the obligation of leading me "by the strings of his apron-garment"—in the characteristic and fanciful turn of the barbarian language—to that same Palace on the following day, but thenceforth gracefully affecting to discern certain agreeable virtues in my conversation and custom of habit he frequently sought me out. More recently, on the double plea that they of his household had a desire to meet me, and that if I spent all my time ...
— The Mirror of Kong Ho • Ernest Bramah

... metra, the word used by him for the central core of any stem whether formed of wood, pith, or other substance. It is from the usage of Theophrastus that the exact definition of fruit and pericarp has come down to us.[18] We may easily discern also the purpose for which he introduces into botany the term metra, a word meaning primarily the womb, and the vacancy in the Greek language which it was made to fill. 'Metra,' he says, 'is that which is in the middle of the ...
— The Legacy of Greece • Various

... allotted tasks and resting absolutely in the almighty sustaining power behind her. Should man do any less? Should man—the reasoning creature, with intelligence to see, weigh, judge, appreciate,—alone be uncertain of the fatherly goodness of God; alone be unable to discern the wisdom and love behind all things? Worry, therefore, is an evidence that we do not trust the ...
— Quit Your Worrying! • George Wharton James

... though they cannot expect it in few years, by reason of the multiplicity of the gentlemen in authority, command, &c. who drive on all designs for support of the old government, and consequently their own interest and the people's slavery, yet they doubt not but in time the people will herein discern their ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... that half-century has passed by, and the great republic goes on its career of greatness, and no eye can discern the ultimate reach of ...
— Latin America and the United States - Addresses by Elihu Root • Elihu Root

... I, after a long silence, summoning up all my firmness, "my lord, I wish to say a few words to you upon a matter of very great importance, of very deep concernment to you and to me." I fixed my eyes upon him to discern, if possible, whether the announcement caused him any uneasiness, but no symptom of any ...
— Two Ghostly Mysteries - A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family; and The Murdered Cousin • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... to clouds, received the name of nebulae. What these were, no astronomer had succeeded in defining. It was left for Herschel, with his rare powers of patient and discriminating observation, assisted by the more powerful instruments which his ingenuity succeeded in constructing, to discern in them innumerable groups of worlds, in various stages of formation! A new light was thrown upon the history of the Universe. Man was able to assist, as it were, at the process of creation, and to watch the development ...
— The Story of the Herschels • Anonymous

... neither read nor write, who knew next to nothing of the great world beyond his own Pampas, and who had not even seen a collection of huts sufficiently large to merit the name of village. He could, however, admirably discern the signs of the wilderness around him, as he showed by suddenly pointing to ...
— The Rover of the Andes - A Tale of Adventure on South America • R.M. Ballantyne

... discern horsemen and a waggon on the far side of the plain, miles away, but their shapes distinctly visible with the glass in that pure atmosphere, as they lay on a distant ridge, the waggon ...
— Off to the Wilds - Being the Adventures of Two Brothers • George Manville Fenn

... Such is our chastity, which safely scorns, Not love, for who more fervently doth love Immortal honour, and divine renown? But giddy Cupid, Venus' frantic son. Yet, Arete, if by this veiled light We but discover'd (what we not discern) Any the least of imputations stand Ready to sprinkle our unspotted fame With note of lightness, from these revels near: Not, for the empire of the universe, Should night, or court, this whatsoever shine, Or grace of ours, unhappily enjoy. Place and occasion are two privy thieves; And from poor innocent ...
— Cynthia's Revels • Ben Jonson

... often lies in the fact that we do not adhere to the qualities which we really discover in them, but conclude from these that there are others which we consider inseparable from, or at any rate incompatible with, them. For instance, when we discern generosity, we conclude there is honesty; from lying we conclude there is deception; from deception, stealing, and so on; and this opens the door to many errors, partly because of the peculiarity of human nature, and partly because of the one-sidedness of ...
— Essays of Schopenhauer • Arthur Schopenhauer

... stretching broad and straight through the city. He noticed houses with balconies, set back on sloping lawns. Here a light disclosed a broad hall with dim stairs at the back. And in another place children were playing under trees; he could hear their calls, and by straining his eyes, barely discern that they wore sumptuous white city raiment. The tide of home-makers and beautifiers had not then rolled so far north of East Washington street as to leave it a ...
— Old Caravan Days • Mary Hartwell Catherwood

... upon the humour that prevails in Dauphiny. But your jest failed of its purpose. It did not amuse me, nor, so far as I could discern, was Monsieur de Tressan greatly taken with it. But all this is of little moment, madame," he continued. "Since you tell me that Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye is content to remain here, I am satisfied that it ...
— St. Martin's Summer • Rafael Sabatini

... house from the fields. Although late in the evening, the windows were still lighted. He was surprised to see men walking to and fro by the house, and to hear their footsteps on the piazza floor. He drew near enough to discern that they carried muskets. Then the truth flashed upon him: they were soldiers ...
— Cudjo's Cave • J. T. Trowbridge

... divided his supplies with the fishermen, trusting that ere long some sail would appear, bound for the Rock, or within signalling distance of it. He walked often by the sea, looking toward Hastings, and trying in vain to discern some sail bound hitherward. He walked over to Culm village, and lingered about the little room where Noll's school had been, and resolved that the plan of a new schoolroom, with good seats, benches, and a faithful teacher, ...
— Culm Rock - The Story of a Year: What it Brought and What it Taught • Glance Gaylord

... was hard to discern in the gloom, but when Anton laid the table for the Cluniac's meal and set a lamp on it, he lit up the cavernous interior of the bed, so that it became the main thing in the chamber. It was the face of a woman who still retained the lines and the colouring of youth. The voice had harshened with ...
— The Path of the King • John Buchan

... night, had now settled about us. In the distance one could just discern the red and green signal lamps—at closer range the burning tip of a cigar or cigarette. The soldiers turned up their collars. The wind shifting to the north was piercing cold. One had to walk briskly up and down to avoid becoming chilled. Way at the other end of the platform the ...
— With Those Who Wait • Frances Wilson Huard

... beginning of summer, and conclusion of the month called Thargelion, not far from the solstice; and the river sending up a thick mist, all the adjacent plain was at first darkened with the fog, so that for a while they could discern nothing from the enemy's camp; only a confused buzz and undistinguished mixture of voices came up to the hill from the distant motions and clamors of so vast a multitude. When the Corinthians had mounted, and stood on the top, and had laid down their bucklers ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough

... was able she went for long walks on the hills, and every day she improved in health and in figure; and when she read Ned's letter saying he would be in Cork in a few days she felt certain he would see no change in her. She opened her dress and could discern no difference; perhaps a slight wave in the breast's line; she was not quite sure and she hoped Ned would not notice it. And she chose a white dress. Ned liked her in white, and she tied it with a blue sash; she put on a white hat trimmed with china roses, and the last look convinced her that ...
— The Untilled Field • George Moore

... below. Strenuous enjoyment on a hot summer's day, I should say, having been in personal contact with a goat myself on occasion, but I really cannot see where the fun comes in. By the aid of a map you may discern the church-tower of St. James's, but you will no longer see the goat hurtling through space. One by one these dear old customs are dying out. Nevertheless, our Pragers still enjoy life, more than ever I should say, contrasting the ...
— From a Terrace in Prague • Lieut.-Col. B. Granville Baker

... was the eldest of the late king's natural children. In the early parts of his life he held the first place in his father's affections; and even in the height of Charles's displeasure at his political conduct, attentive observers thought they could discern that the traces of paternal tenderness were by no means effaced. Appearing at court in the bloom of youth, with a beautiful figure and engaging manners, known to be the darling of the monarch, it is no wonder that he was early assailed by the arts of flattery; ...
— A History of the Early Part of the Reign of James the Second • Charles James Fox

... came to their aid, and showed them the dusky sky, and the dark columns of the surrounding pines. Menendez ordered the men forward on pain of death. They obeyed, and presently, emerging from the forest, could dimly discern the ridge of a low hill, behind which, the Frenchman told them, was the fort. Menendez, with a few officers and men, cautiously mounted to the top. Beneath lay Fort Caroline, three bow-shots distant; but the rain, the imperfect light, and a cluster ...
— Pioneers Of France In The New World • Francis Parkman, Jr.

... the son of Odin, offered to undertake the journey. Odin's horse, Sleipnir, which has eight legs and can outrun the wind, was then led forth, on which Hermod mounted and galloped away on his mission. For the space of nine days and as many nights he rode through deep glens so dark that he could not discern anything, until he arrived at the river Gyoll, which he passed over on a bridge covered with glittering gold. The maiden who kept the bridge asked him his name and lineage, telling him that the day before five bands of ...
— Bulfinch's Mythology • Thomas Bulfinch

... outside, amid all the influences of the night. Gradually her eyes accustomed themselves again to the gloom. She passed along the facade of the house until she came to the corner, where the breeze surprised her, and whence she could discern the other house and, across the indistinct hedge, the other garden. Where was Edwin Clayhanger? Was he wandering in the other garden, or had he entered the house? Then a brief flare lit up a lower window of the dark mass for a few instants. He was within. ...
— Hilda Lessways • Arnold Bennett

... heart was not correct enough to discern what real friendship was; he loved only those who afforded him amusement, and despised all others. The Duchess was very agreeable and had some pleasant notions; she was fond of eating, which was the very thing for the Dauphin, because he found a good breakfast at her ...
— The Memoirs of the Louis XIV. and The Regency, Complete • Elizabeth-Charlotte, Duchesse d'Orleans

... thunder of its protest struck terror into the hearts of the tyrants. We hear its echo, as it comes back from the Slave States themselves, in the exceeding bitter cry of the whites for deliverance from the bondage which the slavery of the blacks has brought upon them also. We discern the confession of its might in the very extravagances and violences of the Slave Power. It is its conscious and admitted weakness that has made Texas and Mexico and Cuba, and our own Northwestern territory, necessary ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 1, Issue 2, December, 1857 • Various

... most seasonable; of the variety of attitudes of which every object is susceptible, to determine on that which is most suitable for the thing and the occasion; of all possible modes of expression and language, to discern the most appropriate, hic labor, hoc opus est. Yet have we both known persons of a moderate grade of intellect who could write whenever you would put a pen in their hands, and for any length of time you ...
— Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Complete • Matthew L. Davis

... was Na-tee-kah that bright September day, and she took an extraordinary amount of pains with her hair. So, for that matter, did Ha-ha-pah-no, and Sile could but discern that both treated him with much more respect than at first. He had been with Two Arrows at the recovery of the ponies, he had killed a buck and a bear, and was evidently able to use the weapons of grown-up white braves. He was therefore not a boy to ...
— Two Arrows - A Story of Red and White • William O. Stoddard

... Melpomene [the Muse of tragedy], though there was a faint glow on the cheek, and an intelligence on the lips and in the eye, which made it seem that gaiety was not foreign to a countenance so expressive, although it might not be its most habitual expression. Quentin even thought he could discern that depressing circumstances were the cause why a countenance so young and so lovely was graver than belongs to early beauty; and as the romantic imagination of youth is rapid in drawing conclusions from slight premises, he was pleased to infer, from what follows, that the fate of this beautiful ...
— Quentin Durward • Sir Walter Scott

... true Wisdom may discern Longings sublime, and aspirations high, Which some are born with, but the most part learn To plague themselves withal, they know not why: 'T was strange that one so young should thus concern His brain about the action of the sky;[o] If you think 't was ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... rushed on board, and a dreadful scene of consternation and terror ensued. Gloucester himself made his way directly toward the figure of a lady, whose air, and manner, and style of dress indicated, so far as he could discern them in the darkness, that she was probably the object of his fury. He plunged his dagger into her breast. She, in an agony of terror, leaped into the river. She was buoyed up by her dress, and floated ...
— Margaret of Anjou - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... hominem minorem mundum, in quo mixtum ex elementis corpus et spiritus coelestis et plantarum anima vegetalis et brutorum sensus et ratio et angelica mens et Dei similitudo conspicitur:—"It is a commonplace of the schools that man is a little world, in which we may discern a body mingled of earthy elements, and ethereal breath, and the vegetable life of plants, and the senses of the lower animals, and reason, and the intelligence of angels, and ...
— The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry • Walter Horatio Pater

... to their right and walked on some two hundred paces. Now they paused beside one of those square mud-walled boxes, of which they could only discern the narrow door made of unplaned wood, and through the chinks of which a faint light glimmered weirdly. Two or three steps fashioned in the earth itself led down toward the threshold. Taurus Antinor descended these and ...
— "Unto Caesar" • Baroness Emmuska Orczy

... task was to identify the house. She stepped out into the street again and crossed to the opposite pavement. She looked up to the second storey, but, owing to the short distance—barely fourteen feet—that separated her from the house—she could discern nothing, save that the windows on that floor ...
— The Albert Gate Mystery - Being Further Adventures of Reginald Brett, Barrister Detective • Louis Tracy

... the weeping of all the women of the world. It lessened again, she seemed to be passing away from it, she heard it far beneath her, it grew tiny in its volume—tiny as if it were an infinite speck or point of sound which she could still discern for millions and millions of miles, till at length distance and vastness overcame it, and it ceased. It ceased, this song of the earth, but a new song began, the song of the rushing worlds. Far away she could hear it, ...
— The Ghost Kings • H. Rider Haggard

... stark dead to the ground. Whereupon Peter Vuticaro went in and certified the rest how the case stood with the keeper, and they came presently forth, and some with their spits ran him through, and the other with their glaves hewed him in sunder, cut off his head, and mangled him so that no man should discern what he was. ...
— Voyager's Tales • Richard Hakluyt

... as they did the democratic principle, it is perfectly natural and desirable that they should fight the battle of equality in a democratic state; and their error has been, not their devotion to equality, but their inability to discern wherein any antagonism existed between liberty and equality, and the extent to which they were sacrificing a desirable liberty to an ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... ascertain which of them was king Nala. And at whomsoever (among them) she looked, she regarded him to be the king of the Nishadhas. And filled with anxiety, the beautious one thought within herself, "Oh, how shall I distinguish the celestials, and how discern the royal Nala?" And thinking thus, the daughter of Vidarbha became filled with grief. And, O Bharata, recollecting the marks belonging to the celestials, of which she had heard, she thought, "Those attributes of the celestials, of which ...
— Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 1 • Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

... the ground of friendship is a mystery; but, looking back, I can discern that, in part, we loved the thing he was, for some shadow of what he was to be. For with all his beauty, power, breeding, urbanity and mirth, there was in those days something soulless in our friend. He would astonish ...
— Memories and Portraits • Robert Louis Stevenson

... that cities are loveliest at dawn. We can see dawn in the desert any day. I think they are loveliest just when the sun is set and a dusk steals along the narrower streets, a kind of mystery in which we can see cloaked figures and yet not quite discern whose figures they be. And just when it would be dark, and out in the desert there would be nothing to see but a black horizon and a black sky on top of it, just then the swinging lanterns are lighted up and lights come out in windows one ...
— Plays of Gods and Men • Lord Dunsany

... new one, and from that time forth are new men. As the inhabitants of many of these islands have received baptism without the aforesaid solicitude and preparation, many sacrileges have been committed; and, as a result, many and great misfortunes have ensued, which we can now clearly discern, and ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, V7, 1588-1591 • Emma Helen Blair

... one has no Relation to the other. Yet the same People will readily own that the fluttering of the Flame of a Candle is a certain token of Wind, which however is not discernible by their Feeling; because it lies within the Compass of their Understanding to discern that this Fluctuation of the Flame is caused by the Wind acting upon it, and therefore they are inclined to believe this, though it does not fall actually under the Cognizance of their Senses. But a Man of a larger Compass of Knowledge, who is acquainted ...
— The Shepherd of Banbury's Rules to Judge of the Changes of the Weather, Grounded on Forty Years' Experience • John Claridge

... been remarked, that the prevailing character of the present age is not that of gross immorality: but if this is meant of those in the higher walks of life, it is easy to discern, that there can be but little merit in abstaining from crimes which there is but little temptation to commit. It is however to be feared, that a gradual defection from piety, will in time draw after ...
— Essays on Various Subjects - Principally Designed for Young Ladies • Hannah More

... the lid, and, starting up, looked about her, to see what had befallen Epimetheus. The thunder-cloud had so darkened the room that she could not very clearly discern what was in it. But she heard a disagreeable buzzing, as if a great many huge flies, or gigantic mosquitoes, or those insects which we call dor-bugs and pinching-dogs, were darting about. And, as her eyes grew more accustomed to the imperfect light, she saw a crowd of ugly little ...
— Children's Literature - A Textbook of Sources for Teachers and Teacher-Training Classes • Charles Madison Curry

... circulating library. He knows that if a book is worth reading at all, it is worth reading well; and that, if it is not worth reading, it is only to the most accomplished reader that it can be worth skimming. He will seek to make him discern, not merely between the good and the evil, but between the good and the not so good. And this not for the sake of sharpening the intellect, still less of generating that self-satisfaction which is the closest attendant upon criticism, but for ...
— A Dish Of Orts • George MacDonald

... darkness was taken by the Egyptians as the emblem of the moral strife between good and evil. Neither is the serpent the mere storm-cloud in those paradisiac legends of Chaldea and Phoenicia in which we have been able to discern a relation in form to the record in Genesis. The aspect of the cloud lengthening out in the sky may, indeed (I could not positively deny it without more positive certainty) have furnished the first germ of the idea of constituting the serpent the visible image of the ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... that I must, like others, reach that term, it is yet at so great a distance, that I cannot discern it, because I know I shall not die except by mere dissolution, having already, by my regular course of life, shut up all the other avenues of death, and thereby prevented the humours of my body from making any other ...
— Discourses on a Sober and Temperate Life • Lewis Cornaro

... feeble force. Human races and tendencies follow the law, and have also small beginnings. The best, according to evolution, is that which has the biggest endings. Now, if a present race of men, enlightened in the evolutionary philosophy, and able to forecast the future, were able to discern in a tribe arising near them the potentiality of future supremacy; were able to see that their own {100} race would eventually be wiped out of existence by the new-comers if the expansion of these were ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... abbot enquiring of him that brought him the ring, how he came by it? he answered, it is true that the king hath said. Hence arose a strange rumour of a ring, that, by turning the stone, you might discern three great letters engraven, S.R.P. as much as to say, Sebastianus Rex Portugallix."—Harl. Mis. ...
— The Works Of John Dryden, Vol. 7 (of 18) - The Duke of Guise; Albion and Albanius; Don Sebastian • John Dryden

... were busy in executing the captain's orders, he bade the gunners fire the cannon so that the crew of the burning ship might know that help was near. In half an hour from the first alarm, we could plainly discern the blazing vessel with the naked eye, and soon after distinguished the whirling columns of flame as they towered above the masts. The night, too, had come on, and the impression made by the lurid light that shone far over the quiet waters, and the booming ...
— Hair Breadth Escapes - Perilous incidents in the lives of sailors and travelers - in Japan, Cuba, East Indies, etc., etc. • T. S. Arthur

... occasion I heard a noise coming from above without being at first able to discern what caused it. A few stones came tumbling down, and were presently followed by a donkey, pack and all, turning over and over with astounding speed. It cleared a perpendicular rock some twenty feet high and landed at its ...
— Unknown Mexico, Volume 1 (of 2) • Carl Lumholtz

... His ideas were chaotic, and he seemed to be spiritually adrift. That his book was indeed the Key he was unable to doubt. He had truly grasped the stupendous truth underlying that manifestation called life, but seeking to discern retrospectively the path whereby he had pierced to the heart of the labyrinth he found confusion and stood dismayed before the dazzling jewel which he had unearthed. The past intruded subtly upon him, and he was all but swept away by sorrowful memories of Don. He ...
— The Orchard of Tears • Sax Rohmer

... of no worthier employment than the practice of his music. Especially it pleased him that his daughter should ask so much as she was now asking: he could not discern all that was passing in her heart, nor see how many shadows moved before those sweet, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 12, October, 1858 • Various

... all lost, Despite my nights in doting folly spent With that fierce passion which my bosom rent At sight of her, too lovely for my cost; Vouchsafe at length that, by thy grace, I turn To wiser life, and enterprise more fair, So that my cruel foe, in vain his snare Set for my soul, may his defeat discern. Already, Lord, the eleventh year circling wanes Since first beneath his tyrant yoke I fell Who still is fiercest where we least rebel: Pity my undeserved and lingering pains, To holier thoughts my wandering sense restore, How on this day his cross ...
— The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch • Petrarch

... head like eyes: but whether it sees or not I cannot tell. They say it lives like a mole, mostly underground; and that when it is found above ground it is easily killed, because it moves but slowly: neither is its sight (if it hath any) so good as to discern anyone that comes near to kill it: as few of these creatures fly at a man or hurt him but when he comes in their way. It is about 14 inches long and about the bigness of the inner joint of a man's middle finger; being of one and the same bigness ...
— A Voyage to New Holland • William Dampier

... did that old man, alone, in opposition to the general opinion, so truly discern the importance of the people's view of the events that in all his activity he was never ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... varying play of Gustavus' features men could read his kindness of heart, his large powers of sympathy, his quick intelligence, his noble, chivalrous nature. And these were infinitely attractive. There, too—it must not be concealed—they could often discern the flash of anger, to be followed quickly by the rough speech which gave pain and offence where a little self-control and consideration might have spared a pang and prevented ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 11 • Various

... He felt more grownup, and instinctively realised that among the larger numbers his deformity would be less noticeable. But from the first day Mr. Gordon struck terror in his heart; and the master, quick to discern the boys who were frightened of him, seemed on that account to take a peculiar dislike to him. Philip had enjoyed his work, but now he began to look upon the hours passed in school with horror. Rather than risk an answer which might be wrong and excite a storm of ...
— Of Human Bondage • W. Somerset Maugham

... managed so regularly, that the beauty of the whole be kept entire; and that the variety become not a perplexed and confused mass of accidents: you will find it infinitely pleasing, to be led in a labyrinth of Design; where you see some of your way before you, yet discern not the end, ...
— An English Garner - Critical Essays & Literary Fragments • Edited by Professor Arber and Thomas Seccombe

... from which the stone had been removed. At first the movements of the ants were extremely erratic and purposeless. Panic and alarm appeared to be the order of the day during the few minutes which elapsed after removal of the stone. But soon the eye could discern movements of purposive kind on the part of the alarmed residents. There was "racing and chasing" in all directions: but the ants which had at first radiated from the centre of disturbance, as if on some definite quest, soon returned thereunto, and continued ...
— A Book of Natural History - Young Folks' Library Volume XIV. • Various

... Uritucu, the image of an animal inverted, without there being any direct image. Niebuhr made a similar observation in Arabia. We several times thought we saw on the horizon the figures of tumuli and towers, which disappeared at intervals, without our being able to discern the real shape of the objects. They were perhaps hillocks, or small eminences, situated beyond the ordinary visual horizon. I need not mention those tracts destitute of vegetation, which appear like large lakes with ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V2 • Alexander von Humboldt

... the casting of immense seines and the catching of myriads of shad, the typical fish or emblem of the Quaker Philadelphian, because in the profile outline of the shad people professed to discern the form according to which the Quaker coat was cut. With the shad were many herring, and now and then a desperate giant of a sturgeon, who in his struggles would give those concerned enough to ...
— Memoirs • Charles Godfrey Leland

... by close observation you might read of a youth of scant schooling in books, not spent among folks of gentle breeding, nor protected from the world, but left to shift for itself against the numerous kicks and scanty half pence of the hard world; then one might discern the period of restless scheming and speculation, and finally the look of successful yet of unsatisfied ambition. Still his face was not a hard and stern one, but shrewd and kindly. He seemed a man who would drive careful bargains, but ...
— The King's Men - A Tale of To-morrow • Robert Grant, John Boyle O'Reilly, J. S. Dale, and John T.

... for the next fortnight; and then the only two public men of weight, whom Mr. Gladstone had induced to give his scheme the compliment of a hearing, retired from the Ministry. Our readers are now in possession of so much of the new scheme as they may be able to discern through the glamour of Mr. Gladstone's rhetoric; but the condition of affairs during the last three months is a picture to remember ...
— The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324, April, 1886 • Various

... there was going on. In clamorous crowds they all ran to the walls and ramparts, from which, as the wind drove the smoke from the contending armies, they commanded a full view of the whole battle. Both armies were so near to the town that they could discern their banners, and clearly distinguish the voices of the victors and the vanquished. More terrible even than the battle itself was the spectacle which this town now presented. Each of the conflicting armies had its friends and ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... probable that among these sacrifices we shall discern any more admirable than that of Miss Edith Cavell. I need not recall the circumstances of her death, for they are well-known to everybody and will never be forgotten. Destiny left nothing undone for the purest glory to emerge from the deepest shadow. In the depths of that shadow ...
— The Wrack of the Storm • Maurice Maeterlinck

... she scans the ground While dangers seem her faith to mock; But highest point by her is found, She stands upon the swaying rock, Which seems unsteady 'neath her feet, And makes her doubt if she can stand To make inspection so complete, She may discern PONOMO'S band. The trembling rock and trembling heart Are firmly fixed, no power can move; But from its crest she must depart In search of him her heart doth love. She stands beside the central lake Along whose shores ...
— Our Profession and Other Poems • Jared Barhite

... her. Before he could cross the path, footsteps rapidly advancing caught his ear. He waited an instant, and the figure of a man passed quickly along the walk between him and the sea. It was too dark to discern anything of the stranger's face; it was only possible to see that he was a tall man—as tall as that officer in the ...
— No Name • Wilkie Collins

... refiner, of Lavender Wharf, Limehouse, comes of a hard-headed, hard-fisted stock. The first of the race that the eye of Record, piercing the deepening mists upon the centuries behind her, is able to discern with any clearness is a long-haired, sea-bronzed personage, whom men call variously Inge or Unger. Out of the wild North Sea he has come. Record observes him, one of a small, fierce group, standing on the sands of desolate Northumbria, staring landward, his worldly wealth upon his ...
— John Ingerfield and Other Stories • Jerome K. Jerome

... which the finest, purest, silver thread Compared, did look like dull pale lead. His breeches of the Fleece was wrought, Which from Colchos Jason brought: Spun into so fine a yarn No mortal wight might it discern, Weaved by Arachne on her loom, Just before she had her doom. A rich Mantle he did wear, Made of tinsel gossamer. Beflowered over with a few Diamond stars of morning dew: Dyed crimson in a maiden's blush, Lined with humble-bees' lost plush. His cap was all of ladies' love, So wondrous ...
— The Hesperides & Noble Numbers: Vol. 1 and 2 • Robert Herrick

... to her life. Her high birth, and her graces sweet, Quickly found a lover meet; The Virgin quire for her request The God that sits at marriage feast; He at their invoking came But with a scarce-wel-lighted flame; 20 And in his Garland as he stood, Ye might discern a Cipress bud. Once had the early Matrons run To greet her of a lovely son, And now with second hope she goes, And calls Lucina to her throws; But whether by mischance or blame Atropos for Lucina came; And with remorsles cruelty, Spoil'd at ...
— The Poetical Works of John Milton • John Milton

... the virtue of the multitude, and for this reason: selfishness is often the consequence of ignorance, and it requires a cultivated mind to discern where the rights of others interfere with our ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. XIX. No. 532. Saturday, February 4, 1832 • Various

... on a platform which is sacred against all intrusion, and Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke assume to allow as much examination as the spiritualists. But I myself, who have seen Mr. Home float around Mr. S. C. Hall's drawing-room, and handled him above and below in transitu, quite fail to discern any reproduction of that phenomenon in the heavy, lumbering levitation of the lady by means of the scissors-like apparatus behind her, which we are only privileged to behold from the stalls. The dancing walking-stick is as palpably made terpsichorean ...
— Mystic London: - or, Phases of occult life in the metropolis • Charles Maurice Davies

... a sigh of relief. The situation was shaping itself more to his satisfaction already. Through the gloom he could vaguely discern the Englishman's massive form standing a few paces away, one hand buried in his breeches pockets, the other still holding the pistol. On the ground close by the hearth was the small lanthorn, and in its dim light the packet of papers gleamed ...
— The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel • Baroness Orczy

... and then swung the cabinet back into its position, where it fastened with a loud click. So firmly was it fixed that, although Roger tried with his whole strength, it did not shake in the slightest; and the work was so admirably done that, from the closest inspection, he was unable to discern aught that would have shown that the cabinet was not built into the wall. He then returned to where ...
— By Right of Conquest - Or, With Cortez in Mexico • G. A. Henty

... onions, and corn, are seen. As the road ascends the air becomes cold and very damp; rain-clouds gather on the mountains and there are frequent showers. At one point the mist became so thick that I could scarcely discern the figure of my chauffeur and we were compelled to advance with the utmost caution, for at many points the road, none too wide at best, falls sheer away in dizzy precipices. But as suddenly as it came, ...
— Where the Strange Trails Go Down • E. Alexander Powell

... rapacious earthquakes, when he was a prey to the keenest sorrows, he at least was unable to conceive the bounty of those beings. How could he perceive the beautiful order which they had introduced into the world, while he groaned under such a multitude of calamities? How was he able to discern the beneficence of men whom he beheld sporting as it were with his species? How could he conceive the consistency of those who destroyed that which he was assured they had taken such pains to establish, solely for his own peculiar happiness? But had his mind been properly enlightened, had he ...
— The System of Nature, Vol. 2 • Baron D'Holbach

... Genius in Musick. A Knowledge of the Compass and peculiar Advantages of each several Instrument. For the same Composition will very differently touch both the Ear and the Mind, as perform'd by a Flute, or Trumpet, an Organ, or a Violin. A difference of which, all discern by the Ear, but which requires a judicious Observation in the Composer. Mr. Hughes has thus express'd their ...
— 'Of Genius', in The Occasional Paper, and Preface to The Creation • Aaron Hill

... hear the murmur of voices; but could discern plainly the keen looks and animated gestures of Charles of Anjou, the sickly sullen indifference of Philippe, and the majestic gravity of Edward, whose noble head towered above the other two as if he were their natural ...
— The Prince and the Page • Charlotte M. Yonge

... one of the other men and turned back to see if he could discern the dog anywhere. He discovered it running up and down on the other bank of the river, in great distress, for the swift current was filled with floating ice and the poor little creature was afraid to make the attempt to swim across. After whistling in vain to encourage the dog to try if it would, ...
— The Story of Young Abraham Lincoln • Wayne Whipple

... right," said Mittie, when they had passed the stile, and could no longer discern the ancestral figure of Miss Thusa in the door of her lonely dwelling, "in saying that she is a very rude, disagreeable person? She is so vindictive, too. She never could forgive me, because when a little child I cared ...
— Helen and Arthur - or, Miss Thusa's Spinning Wheel • Caroline Lee Hentz

... seed-vessels of large spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia) had been several days placed in a decoction of madder (Rubia tinctorum) so that the lower part of the stem, and two of the undermost leaves were immersed in it. After having washed the immersed leaves in clear water, I could readily discern the colour of the madder passing along the middle rib of each leaf. This red artery was beautifully visible both on the under and upper surface of the leaf; but on the upper side many red branches were seen going from it to the extremities ...
— The Botanic Garden - A Poem in Two Parts. Part 1: The Economy of Vegetation • Erasmus Darwin

... where before we 'gan for to discuss The cause why God doth such afflictions send Into his Church, you would some more time spend In the same cause, that thereby you might learn Betwixt the wrath and love of God a right for to discern. ...
— A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. VI • Robert Dodsley

... to appreciate and judge the Divine character of the particular revelation; that is to say, we must already have God in order either to seek Him or to find Him; or, as Balling puts it, "Unless the knowledge of God precedes, no man can discern Him." God is, therefore, the prius of all knowledge: "The knowledge of God must first be, before there can be knowledge of any particular things,"[36] and God must be assumed as present in the soul before any basis of truth or of religion can be found. "The Light is the first Principle ...
— Spiritual Reformers in the 16th & 17th Centuries • Rufus M. Jones

... be overcharged with the substance under examination, or it will become colored so deeply as not to present any transparency, or the color light enough to discern ...
— A System of Instruction in the Practical Use of the Blowpipe • Anonymous

... really can discern no fair reply within the sphere of conceptual logic, if it can be made evident that the term [Greek: homoousios] is really capable of achieving the end here set forth. One objection to the term is, that it was not translatable into the language of the Western ...
— The Literary Remains Of Samuel Taylor Coleridge • Edited By Henry Nelson Coleridge

... mosaic of stars. He resolved numerous nebulae into clusters of stars, and penetrated with his great telescope depth after depth of space crowded with 'island universes of stars,' beyond which he was able to discern luminous haze and filmy streaks of light, the evidence of the existence of other universes plunged in depths still more profound, where space verges on infinity. In his exploration of the starry heavens Herschel's labours were truly amazing. On ...
— The Astronomy of Milton's 'Paradise Lost' • Thomas Orchard

... applauded. This it is to be so excellent a judge; this it is which gives a critic that exalted gratification which can never be attained by the illiterate,—the supreme power of pointing out faults, where others discern nothing but beauties, and preserving a rigid inflexibility of muscle, while the sides of the vulgar herd are shaking with laughter. These merry mortals, thinking with Plato that it is no proof of a good stomach to nauseate every aliment presented ...
— The Works of William Hogarth: In a Series of Engravings - With Descriptions, and a Comment on Their Moral Tendency • John Trusler

... Burroughs, was among the accused. In the months of August and September, 1692, he and nineteen other innocent men and women were put to death. The place of execution was a high hill, on the outskirts of Salem; so that many of the sufferers, as they stood beneath the gallows, could discern their own habitations ...
— Grandfather's Chair • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... which so differ, mean one thing, and yet they themselves would never agree. And if it come so to pass, in that distance of judgment, which is between man and man, shall we not think that God above, that knows the heart, doth not discern that frail men, in some of their contradictions, intend the same thing; and accepteth of both? The nature of such controversies is excellently expressed, by St. Paul, in the warning and precept, that he giveth concerning the same, Devita profanas vocum novitates, et oppositiones falsi nominis ...
— Essays - The Essays Or Counsels, Civil And Moral, Of Francis Ld. - Verulam Viscount St. Albans • Francis Bacon

... is due to the fault of the previous tenants. Nevertheless one can clearly discern through the litter of packing-cases which completely surrounds the house that there was originally ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, September 29th, 1920 • Various

... instruments and manner of their inward motions, and all the other appearances of things, may be more fully discovered; whence may emerge many admirable advantages towards the enlargement of the Active and Mechanick part of knowledge, because we may perhaps be enabled to discern the secret {28} workings of Nature, almost in the same manner, as we do those that are the productions of Art, and are managed by Wheels, and Engines, and Springs, that were devised by Humane wit. To this end, he hath ...
— Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society - Vol 1 - 1666 • Various

... ensure you it is," replied he; "that is, so far as the wit of man at this distance of time may discern the same." ...
— It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot • Emily Sarah Holt

... Unitarian training and association with the churchmen emancipators. "Christianity is founded on, and supposes the authority of, reason, and cannot therefore oppose it, without subverting itself." ... "Its office is to discern universal truths, great and eternal principles ... the highest power of the soul." Thus preached Channing. Who knows but this pulpit aroused the younger Emerson to the possibilities of intuitive reasoning in spiritual realms? The influence of men like Channing in his fight for ...
— Essays Before a Sonata • Charles Ives

... survey of Mr. Hallam, clouded no doubt by his antipathy to all things ecclesiastical, served, however, to arouse the interest of the period, which led to other studies with different results, and later writers were able to discern below the surface of religious fanaticism and superstition so characteristic of those centuries, much of interest in the history of literature; to show that every age produced learned and inquisitive men by whom books were highly prized and industriously collected for their own sakes; ...
— Bibliomania in the Middle Ages • Frederick Somner Merryweather

... the advantages of neighbourhood, lived on their own property. I myself cut palisades from the mountain, and brought leaves of Fan-Palms from the seashore, in order to construct those two cottages, of which you can now discern neither the entrance nor the roof. Yet, alas! there still remain but too many traces for my remembrance! Time, which so rapidly destroys the proud monuments of empires, seems in this desert to spare those of friendship, as if to perpetuate my regrets ...
— Paul and Virginia • Bernardin de Saint Pierre



Words linked to "Discern" :   perceive, discriminate, comprehend, resolve



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