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Discernment   /dɪsˈərnmənt/   Listen
Discernment

noun
1.
The cognitive condition of someone who understands.  Synonyms: apprehension, savvy, understanding.
2.
Delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values).  Synonyms: appreciation, perceptiveness, taste.  "To ask at that particular time was the ultimate in bad taste"
3.
Perception of that which is obscure.  Synonym: perceptiveness.
4.
The mental ability to understand and discriminate between relations.  Synonyms: judgement, judgment, sagaciousness, sagacity.
5.
The trait of judging wisely and objectively.  Synonym: discretion.






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"Discernment" Quotes from Famous Books



... thinking. Such is, however, not the case with man. If the human mind were to attempt to examine and pass a judgment on all the individual cases before it, the immensity of detail would soon lead it astray and bewilder its discernment: in this strait, man has recourse to an imperfect but necessary expedient, which at once assists and demonstrates his weakness. Having superficially considered a certain number of objects, and remarked ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 2 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... greatly disturbed in having to make the request. Nay, pardon me, comte, but I am rarely deceived, young as I am; for while with some persons I place my friendship at the disposal of my understanding, with others I call my distrust to my aid, by which my discernment is increased. I repeat, that you do not prefer your request as though ...
— Ten Years Later • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... fulness of accomplished nationhood, and is grey in honour, Reade's nervous English, which may by that time have grown quaint, and only legible to learned eves, will preserve; the history of its beginnings. That part of His work, indeed, is purely and wholly epic in sentiment and discernment, however colloquial in form, and it is the sole example of its kind, since it was written by one who was ...
— My Contemporaries In Fiction • David Christie Murray

... Assembly of Experts, a popularly elected body of 86 religious scholars constitutionally charged with determining the succession of the Supreme Leader, reviewing his performance, and deposing him if deemed necessary; 2) Expediency Council or Council for the Discernment of Expediency is a policy advisory and implementation board consisting of permanent and temporary members representing all major government factions, some of whom are appointed by the Supreme Leader; the Council exerts ...
— The 2007 CIA World Factbook • United States

... behind her, and strolled back towards the fireplace. "A woman of great discernment is your aunt, Joan." He turned towards her, and suddenly stood very still. "What is it, my dear? . . . Have ...
— Mufti • H. C. (Herman Cyril) McNeile

... observers Professor Hare is far the most noted for his critical discernment, his accuracy of observation, and his obstinate determination not to be convinced that there was anything occult in these phenomena. He was remarkably skilful in the making of scientific apparatus, and he tested the phenomena received by a series of instruments of delicate construction and capable ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, September, 1885 • Various

... with the request you recently made in the Medical Journal, I inclose the following answers to the queries relative to regimen you have propounded. They are given by a lady, whose experience, intelligence, and discernment, have eminently qualified her to answer them. She, with myself, is equally interested with you in having this important question settled, and is extremely happy that you have undertaken to do it. This lady is now fifty years of age; her constitution naturally is good; her early habits ...
— Vegetable Diet: As Sanctioned by Medical Men, and by Experience in All Ages • William Andrus Alcott

... but I cannot advise them to this step, for I am certain they would then close the book, with much higher notions of the efficacy of the plant than what they would have learnt from me. Not that I want faith in the discernment or in the veracity of my correspondents, for they are men of established reputation; but the cases they have sent me are, with some exceptions, too much selected. They are not upon this account less valuable in themselves, but they are not the proper ...
— An Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses - With Practical Remarks on Dropsy and Other Diseases • William Withering

... ingenuous exultation, Dennis followed the foreman into the warehouse, and the latter at once began his instructions as to the system of marking, and Dennis mastered its simple mysteries with a quickness that was not only flattering to the discernment of his instructor but an indorsement of Celtic ...
— The Flaw in the Sapphire • Charles M. Snyder

... shower favours on all men, but 'if a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she be blind, yet she is not invisible,' and his success was to a very great extent due to his stout heart and quick discernment. These qualities stood him in good stead at San Juan de Ulloa, when his few ships were overwhelmed by a much larger fleet. 'The name of Hawkins was so terrible that the Spaniards dared not give him warning that he was ...
— Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts • Rosalind Northcote

... the war had shone out with a lustre equal to that of the other accomplishments by which he had ever been distinguished. Affability in conversation; temper, art, and eloquence in debate; penetration and discernment in counsel; industry, vigilance, and enterprise in action; all these praises are unanimously ascribed to him by historians of the most opposite parties. His virtue, too, and integrity in all the duties of private life, are allowed to have been beyond exception: we must only ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part E. - From Charles I. to Cromwell • David Hume

... In spite of their discernment, women are sadly deficient in analysis when it comes to a question of self. Neither wife nor mother can clearly see her relation to the man they both love. Blinded by passionate devotion and eager for power, both women lose sight of the ...
— Threads of Grey and Gold • Myrtle Reed

... sacred plant of the Chaldeans and Assyrians by the Persians, in order to represent their own Haoma—although the conventional bore no similarity to the real plant—proves that they recognized a certain analogy in the conception of the two emblems. In point of fact the Persians have shown great discernment in their borrowing and adapting; and where they took Chaldeo-Assyrian art for model and for teaching, they only adopted such of those religious symbols common in the basin of the Euphrates and Tigris, as might ...
— The Contemporary Review, Volume 36, September 1879 • Various

... souls. She has thanked me again. She has scolded the parrot. She has smiled upon me as she retires to her room. It is enough. Nothing is said, but I am a man of sensibility and discernment, and I understand that she will not be offended if I seek to renew our friendship on ...
— The Man Upstairs and Other Stories • P. G. Wodehouse

... of the sluggish Havel River, northwest from Berlin a forty or fifty miles. These refused homage, very many of them; said they were "incorporated with Boehmen"; said this and that; much disinclined to homage; and would not do it. Stiff, surly fellows, much deficient in discernment of what is above them and what is not: a thick-skinned set; bodies clad in buff leather; minds also cased in ill ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... feigning, for his natural temper was careless and easy; the boisterous airs he assumed when he became the husband of Katharine being but in sport, or more properly speaking, affected by his excellent discernment, as the only means to overcome, in her own way, the passionate ...
— Tales from Shakespeare • Charles Lamb and Mary Lamb

... immune from the feeling on certain days that you are not at your best. Somehow or other, your wits seem befogged. You hesitate to undertake important interviews. Your interest lags. And though crises arise in your business, you feel weighted down and unable to meet them with that shrewd discernment and decisiveness of action of which you ...
— Initiative Psychic Energy • Warren Hilton

... is one of them. Hitherto we have never, in a single instance of our discovery, found the slightest resemblance between mesmerism and metaphysics. No especial idiosyncrasy is requisite to acquire a knowledge of metaphysical healing; spiritual sense is more important to its discernment than the intellect; and those who would learn this science without a high moral standard of thought and action, will fail to understand it until they go up higher. Owing to our explanations constantly vibrating between the same points, an irksome repetition of ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... to mention here that souls which are yet in themselves, whatever degree of light and ardor they have attained, are unqualified for it. They often think they have this discernment, when it is nothing else but sympathy or antipathy of nature. Our Lord destroyed in me every sort of natural antipathy. The soul must be very pure, and depending on God alone, that all these things may be experienced ...
— The Autobiography of Madame Guyon • Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon

... of which effected a sudden change in his feelings. He declared, with a great oath, that Messrs. Quirk, Gammon, and Snap were "perfect gentlemen," and would "do the right thing after all—Titmouse might depend upon it;" an assurance which greatly cheered Titmouse, to whose keen discernment it never once occurred to refer Huckaback's altered tone to the right cause, viz. the lubricating quality of the postscript; and since Titmouse did not allude to it, no more did Mr. Huckaback, although his own double misnomer stuck not a little in his throat. So effectual, indeed, ...
— Ten Thousand a-Year. Volume 1. • Samuel Warren

... to Harriet with delight on her visits to my family, and I am convinced that she is not only truthful, but that she has a rare discernment, and ...
— Harriet, The Moses of Her People • Sarah H. Bradford

... degree of these absolute qualities visible in living creatures; and that the divinity of the Mind of man is in its essential discernment of what is [Greek: kalon] from what is [Greek: aischron], and in his preference of the kind of creatures which are decent, to those which are indecent; and of the kinds of thoughts, in himself, which are noble, ...
— Proserpina, Volume 1 - Studies Of Wayside Flowers • John Ruskin

... Moles in a beautiful Countenance, take nothing from the Charms of a happy Composure, but rather heighten and improve their Value. Were our modern Reflecters Masters of more Humanity than Learning, and of more Discernment than both, the Authors of the Past and Present Ages, would have no reason to complain of Injustice; nor would that Reflection be cast upon the best-natur'd Nation in the World, that, when rude and ignorant, ...
— Discourse on Criticism and of Poetry (1707) - From Poems On Several Occasions (1707) • Samuel Cobb

... very insufficient conception of anatomy. His THEORETICAL knowledge is warped, but he is a shrewd judge of human nature and his PRACTICAL knowledge is not contemptible. In his private pharmacy his assistants have compounded a great quantity of drugs which he knows how to administer with much discernment. He has had considerable experience in dealing with wounds and sprains, such as are common in the wars or in the athletic games. He understands that Dame Nature is a great healer, who is to be assisted rather than coerced; and he dislikes resorting to violent ...
— A Day In Old Athens • William Stearns Davis

... of soul, which excludes, at the same time, both insensibility and too much earnestness. It supposes a quick discernment, to perceive, immediately, the different characters of men; and, by a sweet condescension, adapts itself to each man's taste, not to flatter, but to calm his passions. In a word, it is a forgetting of ourselves, in order to ...
— Domestic pleasures - or, the happy fire-side • F. B. Vaux

... traitor," has "authorized the robbery and ruin of the remnants of his own army," has "broke the constitution," and Callender fumes over "the vileness of the adulation which has been paid" to him, claiming that "the extravagant popularity possessed by this citizen reflects the utmost ridicule on the discernment of America." ...
— The True George Washington [10th Ed.] • Paul Leicester Ford

... of her life, one day and every day, is like a gust of fresh country air clearing away the mist of time and enabling one to see Dorothy at Chicksands quite clearly. It is fashionable to deny Macaulay everything but memory; but he had the good taste and discernment to admire this letter, and quote from it in his Essay on Sir William Temple,—a quotation for which I shall always remain very ...
— The Love Letters of Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, 1652-54 • Edward Abbott Parry

... that you have no right to exult if you toss and gore me, for I tell you beforehand that you will. And, if you do, that only proves me to be in the right, and a very sagacious person; since my argument has all the appearance of being irresistible, and yet such is my discernment that I foresee most acutely that it will turn out a most absurd one. It is this: your answer to Philebus issues in this—that a thing A is shown to be at once more valuable and yet not more valuable than the same thing B. Now, this answer ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... credit of detecting and baffling the sinister designs of France; but without the tact of Franklin this probably could not have been accomplished without offending France in such wise as to spoil everything. It is, however, to the rare discernment and boldness of Jay, admirably seconded by the sturdy Adams, that the chief praise is due. The turning-point of the whole affair was the visit of Dr. Vaughan to Lord Shelburne. The foundation of success was the separate negotiation with England, and here there had stood in the ...
— The Critical Period of American History • John Fiske

... man! Oh, it was outrageous! How could she be so deceived? and yet, of course, women knew very little of men. They had no standards by which to judge them. They had no opportunity to see them except in plain sight of those they wished to please. One could not expect them to have discernment in selecting their friends. But what a pity! Things were all wrong! There ought to be some way to educate a woman so that she would realize the dangers all about her and be somewhat protected. It was worse for Ruth Macdonald because she had no men in her ...
— The Search • Grace Livingston Hill

... Great and Learned Chancellor, which High Office your Lordship deservedly bears; not as an Acquisition of Fortune, but your Intellectual Endowments; Conspicuous (among other Excellencies) by the Inclination Your Lordship discovers to promote Natural Knowledge: As it justifies the Discernment of that Assembly, to pitch upon Your Lordship for their President, so does it no less discover the Candor, yea, I presume to say, the Sublimity of your Mind, in so generously honoring them with your Acceptance of the Choice they ...
— Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets • John Evelyn

... particularity frequently tend to give an air of truth to a piece, and to interest the spectator in an extraordinary manner. Such circumstances, therefore, cannot wholly be rejected; but if there be anything in the art which requires peculiar nicety of discernment, it is the disposition of these minute circumstantial parts which, according to the judgment employed in the choice, become so useful to truth or ...
— Seven Discourses on Art • Joshua Reynolds

... the Spaniards. But what degree of protection the slaves would enjoy might be inferred from the admission of a gentleman, by whom this very plan of regulation had been recommended, and who was himself no ordinary person, but a man of discernment and legal resources. He had proposed a limitation of the number of lashes to be given by the master or overseer for one offence. But, after all, he candidly confessed, that his proposal was not likely to be useful, while the evidence ...
— The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808) • Thomas Clarkson

... that it was well no serious cause of division had ever come between them; or two such natures—I ought rather to express it, two such shades of the same nature—might have been harder to reconcile than the two extremest opposites in creation. The idea did not originate in my own discernment, I am bound to confess, but in a speech ...
— David Copperfield • Charles Dickens

... in a surprising degree, and while the beauty and graces of her person, and her great progress in genteel accomplishments, charmed every eye, the nice discernment, and uncommon strength of reason which appeared in her conversation, astonished every judicious observer; but her most admirable qualities were her humility and modesty; which, notwithstanding her great internal and external excellencies, ...
— A Description of Millenium Hall • Sarah Scott

... excuse Victor Chupin's indignation. And yet he had prudently withheld the most serious and important cause of his dislike. What he refrained from telling was that years before, when he was still a mere child, without will or discernment, his father had taken him from his mother, and had started him down that terrible descent, which inevitably leads one to prison or the gallows, unless there be an almost miraculous interposition on one's behalf. ...
— The Count's Millions - Volume 1 (of 2) • Emile Gaboriau

... benefit to all, I enter on a path which, being hitherto untrodden by any, though it involve me in trouble and fatigue, may yet win me thanks from those who judge my efforts in a friendly spirit. And although my feeble discernment, my slender experience of current affairs, and imperfect knowledge of ancient events, render these efforts of mine defective and of no great utility, they may at least open the way to some other, who, with better parts and sounder reasoning ...
— Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius • Niccolo Machiavelli

... is impossible to measure adequately the consequences of sexual indulgence. It is destructive of physical health among women and of morals among both sexes. It results in a weakening of the will and a blunting of moral discernment. It is an economic waste, as is intemperance, for even on the level of economic values it is plain that money could be much better spent for that which would benefit rather than curse. But the great evil that looms large in public view is the legacy ...
— Society - Its Origin and Development • Henry Kalloch Rowe

... said Mary Almira was a young lady of very pleasing face and form and agreeable manners, it is by no means improbable that he (Roswell) manifested to said Mary Almira that in those matters he was not wholly devoid of sensibility and discernment." The next morning Mary returned to Brattleboro with Mrs. Jonathan, and Roswell "did not then expect ...
— Eugene Field, A Study In Heredity And Contradictions - Vol. I • Slason Thompson

... away. Having thus vindicated his humanity by also passing the snub he had received from Stacy to an inferior, he turned away to carry out his master's instructions, yet secure in the belief that he had profited by his superior discernment of the real reason of that master's singular conduct. But when he returned to the private room, in hopes of further revelations, Mr. Stacy was closeted with another financial magnate, and had apparently divested his mind ...
— The Three Partners • Bret Harte

... the zeal which they naturally cherished for the memory of their parent. Men of reflection felt that no well-regulated mind can ever engage in slandering one person for the purpose of elevating another. Men of ordinary discernment perceived that the assaults on Clarkson's reputation had no possible tendency to raise Wilberforce's reputation. Men of observation saw at once that there lurked behind the wish to praise the one party, a desire to wound the other; and gave them far less ...
— The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the - Abolition of the African Slave-Trade, by the British Parliament (1839) • Thomas Clarkson

... led the way indoors at last, and he and I who followed like her guests. From the edges of consciousness I finally drew some discernment of the place of coffee and rolls in a beneficent universe, and presently we three sat at his breakfast table. And not until then did Calliope ...
— Friendship Village • Zona Gale

... his faith, to lull his conscience and quiet remorse, to excuse his weaknesses and break through every restraint, and thus to warrant every kind of fault and vice. Hence it is that the knowledge and discernment of what is true or untrue, in the moral world, depends, in a considerable degree, upon the practice of good or evil; hence it is, that the judgments of the mind are modified by the inclinations of the heart, and that ...
— A Guide for the Religious Instruction of Jewish Youth • Isaac Samuele Reggio

... never became what may be called a popular book, it nevertheless attracted a good deal of attention, and the author received a great number of letters expressive of admiration and gratitude for the clear discernment and impartiality with which the differences existing between the two nations had been studied ...
— Philip Gilbert Hamerton • Philip Gilbert Hamerton et al

... fearful of cabal, distrusting his own judgment, he sought his ministers of all kinds upon public testimony. But as courts are the field for caballers, the public is the theatre for mountebanks and impostors. The cure for both those evils is in the discernment of the prince. But an accurate and penetrating discernment is what in a young prince ...
— Political Pamphlets • George Saintsbury

... entirely upon your friendships, and leave it to you to adopt the manner in which the said gentleman may arrive in security, without molestation, at Fyzabad; but at the same time let the plan be so managed that it may not come to the knowledge of any zemindars: in this case you are men of discernment. However, he is to come to Fyzabad: extend your ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VIII. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... do none of these; but, by retiring into the quiet and untrodden forest, I will show my discernment of real good and ill. The ...
— Hindu Literature • Epiphanius Wilson

... whence it was driven, lie Down in Cieldauro, and from martyrdom And exile came it here. Lo! further on, Where flames the arduous Spirit of Isidore, Of Bede, and Richard, more than man, erewhile, In deep discernment. Lastly this, from whom Thy look on me reverteth, was the beam Of one, whose spirit, on high musings bent, Rebuk'd the ling'ring tardiness of death. It is the eternal light of Sigebert, Who 'scap'd not ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... relied upon for permanent effects. Particular provisions, though not altogether useless, have far less virtue and efficiency than are commonly ascribed to them; and the want of them will never be, with men of sound discernment, a decisive objection to any plan which exhibits the leading characters of a good Government." After an experience of nearly a century and a quarter we must admit, I think, that Hamilton was right. In the United ...
— The Theory of Social Revolutions • Brooks Adams

... possessed the art of ingratiating himself with all around him; he enlivened every circle in which he moved by his felicitous humor, and infused life and spirit into every subject that came before him. The prince had discernment enough to appreciate in another those virtues which he himself possessed in an eminent degree. Everything which G——— undertook, even to his very sports, had an air of grandeur; no difficulties could daunt him, no failures vanquish his perseverance. The value of these ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... the revolt set up in the name of the people; in 1792, he came in person to demand, on behalf of his army, the suppression of the Jacobins; and he held himself apart and independent under the Empire. But, taking all points into account, he failed in political judgment, in discernment, in a just estimate of circumstances and men; and he had a yielding towards his natural bent, a want of foresight as to the probable results of his actions, with a constant but indistinct yearning after popular favour, which led him on ...
— Memoirs To Illustrate The History Of My Time - Volume 1 • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... that the Merry Monarch, the fastidious voluptuary, with his nice discernment in women, should have checked in his long stride, and halted a ...
— The Historical Nights Entertainment, Second Series • Rafael Sabatini

... even Enemies and envious Persons bestow the sincerest Marks of Esteem when they least design it. Such afford a greater Pleasure, as extorted by Merit, and freed from all Suspicion of Favour or Flattery. Thus it is with Malvolio; he has Wit, Learning, and Discernment, but temper'd with an Allay of Envy, Self-Love and Detraction: Malvolio turns pale at the Mirth and good Humour of the Company, if it center not in his Person; he grows jealous and displeased when he ceases to be the only Person admired, and looks upon the Commendations paid ...
— The Spectator, Volume 2. • Addison and Steele

... which I have formerly referred: "Your homes the scene. Yourselves, the actors, here!" Debtors' prisons, parish Bumbledoms, Yorkshire schools, were vile enough, but something much more pestiferous was now the aim of his satire; and he had not before so decisively shown vigour, daring, or discernment of what lay within reach of his art, as in taking such a person as Pecksniff for the central figure in a tale of existing life. Setting him up as the glass through which to view the groups around him, we are not the ...
— The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete • John Forster

... his own amusement that he began, and probably for his amusement he will do so again." The boy, when left alone, in a short time resumed his tumbling. I mention this to shew Jeema's good sense in not forcing the boy to do that as a task, which he had begun as an amusement, and which he had discernment enough to know would be unpleasant for us to witness in any other way. By this treatment of their children, mutual cordiality and freedom of intercourse are encouraged. It was probably owing to this mode of education ...
— Account of a Voyage of Discovery - to the West Coast of Corea, and the Great Loo-Choo Island • Captain Basil Hall

... particulars, the objections to which I saw as clearly as they. But it would be an endless task for an authour to point out upon every occasion the precise object he has in view, Contenting himself with the approbation of readers of discernment and taste, he ought not to complain that some are found who cannot or will not ...
— Life Of Johnson, Volume 5 • Boswell

... foresaw that the princes, out of modesty and respect, would not take the liberty of beginning any conversation. Therefore, to give them an opportunity, he furnished them with subjects all dinner-time. But whatever subject he introduced, they shewed so much wit, judgment, and discernment, that he was struck with admiration. "Were these my own children," said he to himself, "and I had improved their talents by suitable education, they could not have been more accomplished or better informed." In short, he took such great pleasure in their conversation, that after having ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 4 • Anon.

... "I should lack discernment, sir," he retorted, with some heat, "if I could not see as much. Breeding shines through sack-cloth, sir. Besides," he continued, in a milder tone, "the look of you is candour itself. Though I have not greatly the advantage ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... fact, he knew many things without ever having read any but the most indispensable books; but he stood very well with the five Academies, with all the savants, writers, and learned specialists, to whom he listened with clever discernment. He knew how to forget at once explanations that were too technical or were useless to him, remembered the others very well, and lent to the information thus gleaned an easy, clear, and good-natured rendering that made them as readily comprehensible as the ...
— Strong as Death • Guy de Maupassant

... the necessity of writing for bread. Otway, though a professed royalist, could not even procure bread by his writings; and he had the singular fate of dying literally of hunger. These incidents throw a great stain on the memory of Charles; who had discernment, loved genius, was liberal of money, but attained not the praise ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part F. - From Charles II. to James II. • David Hume

... spiritual than the pilgrimage from Destruction to the Celestial City; and to understand its hidden meaning, requires the close and mature application of the renewed mind. There are, alas! comparatively few that are blessed with spiritual discernment; and even of these, there are but few inclined to mental investigation and research. These are reasons why it has not been so popular a book as the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' To aid those whose time for reading is limited, notes are given, by which obsolete ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... reciprocally to each other, the contradictions, improbabilities, and forgeries, accused one another of having established their belief on popular rumors, vague traditions, and absurd fables, invented without discernment, and admitted without examination by unknown, partial, or ignorant writers, at uncertain or ...
— The Ruins • C. F. [Constantin Francois de] Volney

... a man of keen discernment, quick apprehensions, and ready retort. In social intercourse he had wonderful powers of adapting himself to circumstances, and was alike an acceptable visitor in the families of the wealthy and refined, the humble and the uneducated, and a welcome guest ...
— Report Of Commemorative Services With The Sermons And Addresses At The Seabury Centenary, 1883-1885. • Diocese Of Connecticut

... with a fact, or the sum total of our information. Our wisdom is our intellectual and spiritual discernment, to which our knowledge is one of the contributors. Knowledge comprises the materials; wisdom the ability to use them to practical advantage and to worthy or noble purpose. Knowledge is mental possession; wisdom is mental ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... pertains. These, when they see some likeness of things there, are lost in amazement, and belong no longer to themselves; only, they understand not the true nature of their affection, because they lack discernment. Now, of Justice, and of Temperance, and of all those other qualities which are precious to souls, there is no clear light in their semblances here below; but, through obscure organs, with difficulty, very few, coming to their figures, behold the generation (genos, the people) of that which is ...
— Plato and Platonism • Walter Horatio Pater

... so well?" said Mr. McFarlane. "Mrs. Randolph, I am afraid you are not literary. Now Daisy, exercise your discernment upon that." ...
— Melbourne House • Elizabeth Wetherell

... for you are wonderful," said the colonel, not unwilling to lighten a situation that bordered on intensity. "You should have married and had children. The South needs such mothers as you would have made. Unless the men of Clarendon have lost their discernment, unless chivalry has vanished and the fire died out of the Southern blood, it has not been for lack of opportunity that ...
— The Colonel's Dream • Charles W. Chesnutt

... excellent livers and fearless temperaments, bestowed names befitting their sense of humor and adaptability. The official title of the Sioux was By-and-by; the dog was known as Fleas. Never had names more clearly described the objects to be represented, for they were excellent examples of cowboy discernment ...
— Hopalong Cassidy's Rustler Round-Up - Bar-20 • Clarence Edward Mulford

... the risk of being compromised through his inexperience. Moreover, the complaint of the child, often directed against its parents or its legal guardians, involves the examination of a delicate situation, which must be conducted with much discernment. Without comparing the two systems, American and French, which correspond each to the particular genius of the two nations, it will be seen that the American system leaves much more to private initiative, and that it would become ...
— The Bay State Monthly, Volume II. No. 2, November, 1884 • Various

... acquaintance of these men in the city, it was arranged that they should journey together as far as their respective routes led them. The men were of the usual stamp of herders, rough in exterior and plain of speech, but apparently worthy of trust. The captain was not wanting in discernment, and his ...
— Sword and Pen - Ventures and Adventures of Willard Glazier • John Algernon Owens

... me afterwards that his grandfather wrote 'a Wasp' in his "Zoonomia." Though the correction did credit to my intelligence, I none the less deeply regretted my mistake, for I had uttered suspicions of the observer's powers of discernment, unjust suspicions which the translator's inaccuracy led me into entertaining. May this note serve to mitigate the harshness of the strictures provoked by my overtaxed credulity! I do not scruple to attack ideas which I consider ...
— The Mason-bees • J. Henri Fabre

... neighbor at table was the great poet. In a flutter of interest they listened for the wisdom which would drop from the distinguished man's mouth and heard the hearty words, "What fine potatoes these are!" This particular point requires nice discernment on the part of host and hostess; they should know when they may safely impress one guest with the cleverness of the other, and when it would be disastrous to do so. Suppose the consequence is that each guest waits for the sparkling flow ...
— Conversation - What to Say and How to Say it • Mary Greer Conklin

... fixed on the mammon of the world, they allow many little inconsistencies in their children to escape their reproof. But, besides this, as the religion and the love of the mammon of the world are at variance, they have a less spiritual discernment than before. Hence they do not see the same irregularities in the same light. From this omission to check these irregularities on the one hand, and from this decay of their spiritual vision on the other, their ...
— A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume III (of 3) • Thomas Clarkson

... themselves to his mind; some of them often easily and inexpensively done, although important from their usefulness. He is sure, at any rate, to know the condition of his estate, and he can, with a just discernment, encourage the industrious, help the weak, urge forward the slow, and have a friendly word for all, whether he approves, or is obliged to find fault. The value of this mode of dealing with the people cannot be over ...
— The History of the Great Irish Famine of 1847 (3rd ed.) (1902) - With Notices Of Earlier Irish Famines • John O'Rourke

... about the Frate, Francesco," said Pietro Cennini, the scholarly. "We are all indebted to him in these weeks for preaching peace and quietness, and the laying aside of party quarrels. They are men of small discernment who would be glad to see the people slipping the Frate's leash just now. And if the Most Christian King is obstinate about the treaty to-day, and will not sign what is fair and honourable to Florence, Fra Girolamo is the man we ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... in the South. I resolved not to let him do so. I had conscientiously endeavored to see Southern conditions as they were. I had not permitted any political considerations or any preconceived opinions on my part to obscure my perception and discernment in the slightest degree. I had told the truth, as I learned it and understood it, with the severest accuracy, and I thought it due to the country that the truth should ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 1, May 1908 • Various

... of the Western World. That topic was fortunate in having him for its exponent. He was an object-lesson of the aspirations of enlightened Catholic Americans as well as an exalted type of Catholic missionary zeal. Very few men of discernment ever really knew Father Hecker but to admire him and to be ready to be persuaded by him of his life-thesis: that a free man tends to be a good Catholic, and a free nation is the most promising field ...
— Life of Father Hecker • Walter Elliott

... him away from home much of the time during my boyhood, and as a consequence I grew up under the sole guidance and training of my mother, whose excellent common sense and clear discernment in every way fitted her for such maternal duties. When old enough I was sent to the village school, which was taught by an old-time Irish "master"—one of those itinerant dominies of the early frontier—who, holding that to spare ...
— Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete • U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

... slept. An ancient woman, a Sicilian, dwelt There also, who in that sequester'd spot Attended diligent her aged Lord. Then thus Ulysses to his followers spake. Haste now, and, ent'ring, slay ye of the swine The best for our regale; myself, the while, Will prove my father, if his eye hath still 260 Discernment of me, or if absence long Have worn the knowledge of me from his mind. He said, and gave into his servants' care His arms; they swift proceeded to the house, And to the fruitful grove himself as swift To prove his father. Down he went at once Into the spacious garden-plot, but found ...
— The Odyssey of Homer • Homer

... plump, kindly face with amusement. She had the best heart in the world and the biggest, but she had not the discernment to know that there were treasures even in Miller's Notch ...
— Highacres • Jane Abbott

... have these signs properly effaced, the angel draws from beneath his ash-hued mantle the golden key of authority and the silver key of discernment, stating that when St. Peter entrusted them to his keeping he bade him err "rather in opening than in keeping fast." Then, the gate open, the angel bids them enter, adding the solemn warning "he forth again departs ...
— The Book of the Epic • Helene A. Guerber

... your packet of poems, and Shee's letter. I perceive that he is impressed by your attentions and your ability. It will always afford me one of my best pleasures to forward your views; I claim no merit from this, but my discernment in discovering your talents, which, under the genius of Prudence (the best of all Genii for human affairs), must inevitably reach the goal. The literary productions of I.D['Israeli] and others may not augment the ...
— A Publisher and His Friends • Samuel Smiles

... practice I ran to the brink of the river to save, as I thought, the life of a poor man. He no sooner raised his head out of the water, however, than down it went again; and I was laughed at for my want of discernment by a crowd of people who shouted Ko-ng, Ko-ng, ...
— The Awakening of China • W.A.P. Martin

... a suspicion that his cousin was sometimes histrionic, and that many things which she said were to be regarded as stage talk. He did not know how far to take her seriously, and this gave him a feeling at once confused and uncomfortable. To be played with as if he were not of discernment ripe enough to perceive her raillery or as if he were not of consequence sufficient to be taken seriously, offended his vanity; and the man whom the devil cannot conquer through his vanity is invulnerable. Wynne had no answer now for the words of ...
— The Puritans • Arlo Bates

... the England that is vanishing the artist's pencil will play a more prominent part than the writer's pen. The graphic sketches that illustrate this book are far more valuable and helpful to the discernment of the things that remain than the most effective descriptions. We have tried together to gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost; and though there may be much that we have not gathered, the examples herein given of ...
— Vanishing England • P. H. Ditchfield

... Montreal and Quebec; and who are thoroughly acquainted with the situation of affairs among the Canadian Papists—and such of them as are known, with scarcely a dissenting voice, proclaim the same facts which every traveller, who has any discernment or curiosity, learns when he makes the northern summer tour. It is also indubitable, that intelligent persons in Canada generally, especially residents in Montreal and Quebec, who have no inducement either to falsify ...
— Awful Disclosures - Containing, Also, Many Incidents Never before Published • Maria Monk

... refuge against the forlorn condition in which he had just before confessed they were placed, that she was much more disposed to ponder on the cause, than to trouble him with questions which she had the discernment to see would be useless. Gertrude wondered, while she was disposed to think he might be right, though she knew not why. Cassandra alone was rebellious. She lifted her voice in loud objections against a moment's delay, assuring the abstracted and perfectly inattentive young ...
— The Red Rover • James Fenimore Cooper

... without anyone's saying 'it is a new fancy.' As for the Americans, they have 'a zeal without knowledge' for poetry. There is more love for verse among them than among the English. But they suffer themselves to be led in their choice of poets by English critics of average discernment; this is said of them by their own men of letters. Tennyson is idolized deep down in the bush woods (to their honour be it said), but to understand you sufficiently, they wait for the explanations of the critics. So I wanted them to see what Landor says ...
— The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Vol. 1 (of 2) 1845-1846 • Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett

... I had sufficient resources at my disposal not to quit England before having, in my turn, liberated Sidney. What more can I say to you? The instinct of life, the fear of death, doubtless obscured my judgment, troubled my discernment. I accepted, for I believed everything Sidney said to me. Alas! why was I ...
— A Romance of the West Indies • Eugene Sue

... reflection on Fanny, Sir Thomas thought nothing could be more unjust, though he had been so lately expressing the same sentiments himself, and he tried to turn the conversation: tried repeatedly before he could succeed; for Mrs. Norris had not discernment enough to perceive, either now, or at any other time, to what degree he thought well of his niece, or how very far he was from wishing to have his own children's merits set off by the depreciation of hers. She was talking at Fanny, and resenting this private ...
— Persuasion • Jane Austen

... Christopher had failed her, and had shown her plainly that there were, in his eyes, more important matters than Miss Elisabeth Farringdon and her whims and fancies. And what woman, worthy of the name, could extend mercy to a man who had openly displayed so flagrant a want of taste and discernment as this? Certainly not Elisabeth, nor any other fashioned after her pattern. She felt that she had as much right to be angry as had the prophet, when Almighty Wisdom saw fit to save the great city in which he was not particularly interested, and to destroy the gourd in which ...
— The Farringdons • Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler

... matters, on which the young king gave judgment with that admirable prudence and sagacity that surprised all the council. He next turned out several governors convicted of mal-administration, and put others in their room, with such wonderful and just discernment, as exalted the acclamations of every body, which were so much the more honourable, as flattery had no share in them. He at length left the council, accompanied by his father, and went to wait on his mother Queen Gulnare at her apartment. The queen no sooner saw him coming with ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete • Anonymous

... the Court, died at Paris a little after midnight on the night between Easter Sunday and Monday, the last of March and first of April, and in his seventy- sixth year. No man had ever more ability of all kinds, extending even to the arts and mechanics more valour, and, when it pleased him, more discernment, grace, politeness, and nobility. But then no man had ever before so many useless talents, so much genius of no avail, or an imagination so calculated to be a bugbear to itself and a plague to others. ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... called to sing some song of the deeds of heroes, to charm the ear of his guest. Demodocus came and reached his harp, where it hung between two pillars of silver; and then the blind singer, to whom, in recompense of his lost sight, the muses had given an inward discernment, a soul and a voice to excite the hearts of men and gods to delight, began in grave and solemn strains to sing the glories of men highliest famed. He chose a poem whose subject was The Stern Strife stirred up between Ulysses and Great Achilles, as at a banquet ...
— THE ADVENTURES OF ULYSSES • CHARLES LAMB

... "taken in," to use their own expression. Consequently, they told her things, and laid innocent little traps for her to walk into, such as they would never have thought of doing for a more wide-awake teacher, or, at least, one who did not make such a strong point of her power of discernment. ...
— Caps and Capers - A Story of Boarding-School Life • Gabrielle E. Jackson

... reply, Mother Bunch, who had more discernment, exclaimed: "Goodness, Agricola—how pale you are! Whatever ...
— The Wandering Jew, Complete • Eugene Sue

... know What finite vision, to the end, Through years of strictest search below, Must ever fail to comprehend! God! whose intents so far transcend Our poor discernment, let me see Some portion of the truths that tend By ...
— Hesperus - and Other Poems and Lyrics • Charles Sangster

... it as certain as anything can be that the distinction which I have just drawn, and which they all implicitly draw for themselves, is logically valid. For no one is entitled to deny the possibility of what may be termed an organ of spiritual discernment. In fact to do so would be to vacate the position of pure agnosticism in toto—and this even if there were no objective, or strictly scientific, evidences in favour of such an organ, such as we have in the lives of the saints, and, in a lower degree, in the universality ...
— Thoughts on Religion • George John Romanes

... be the most exacting of all the Arts, the cultivation of which presents the greatest difficulties, for a consummate interpretation of a musical work so as to permit an appreciation of its real value, a clear view of its physiognomy, or discernment of its real meaning and true character, is only achieved in relatively few cases. Of creative artists, the composer is almost the only one who is dependent upon a multitude of intermediate agents between the public and himself; intermediate agents, either intelligent ...
— The Orchestral Conductor - Theory of His Art • Hector Berlioz

... should impute to it false motives and impulses. The Count prided himself upon his tact, and was therefore very careful to use the most idiomatic English in his conversation. But at this sudden discovery—for he had not imagined that the acquaintance had gone beyond his own discernment—he felt the English language quite inadequate to the occasion, and muttered something under his breath that sounded remarkably like "Tison d'enfer!" as he turned on his heel ...
— One Day - A sequel to 'Three Weeks' • Anonymous

... man who stabbed George Colwan in the back, and she said she was willing to take her oath on it at any time when required, and was certain, if the wretch Ridsley saw him, that he would make oath to the same purport, for that his walk was so peculiar no one of common discernment could ...
— The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner • James Hogg

... and to the continuance of his race; another which lead to society, and by inlisting him on the side of one tribe or community, frequently engage him in war and contention with the rest of mankind. His powers of discernment, or his intellectual faculties, which, under the appellation of reason, are distinguished from the analogous endowments of other animals, refer to the objects around him, either as they are subjects of mere knowledge, ...
— An Essay on the History of Civil Society, Eighth Edition • Adam Ferguson, L.L.D.

... you a kinsman," said John Effingham, rising to receive the young man, towards whom he advanced, with extended hands, in his most winning manner. "Eve's frankness and your own discernment have made us ...
— Home as Found • James Fenimore Cooper

... the devil was it in history was so particularly magnanimous? Well, never mind! And now,' he continued, with melancholy triumph, uncovering a third rather large mass of clay, 'you shall behold something which will show you the humility and discernment of your friend. You will realise that he, like a true artist again, feels the need and the use of ...
— On the Eve • Ivan Turgenev

... distant retrospect my boyish trespasses; but as yet Oxford had not arrived. I committed, besides, a great fault in taking often a tone of mock seriousness, when the detection of the playful extravagance was left to the discernment or quick sympathy of the hearer; and I was blind to the fact, that neither my mother nor my uncle was distinguished by any natural liveliness of vision for the comic, or any toleration for the extravagant. My mother, for example, ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... just discernment, that applications ought to be made to this powerful court, as the professed adversary of France; and if it was not hitherto known that their assistance had been assiduously solicited, our endeavours were kept secret only that their success ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 10. - Parlimentary Debates I. • Samuel Johnson

... something flowing in from sight, hearing, touch, or interaction with others, and thus affecting him. He is wholly unaware that love is his very life; not only the general life of his whole body, and the general life of all his thoughts, but also the life of all their particulars. This a man of discernment can perceive when it is said: If you remove the affection which is from love, can you think anything, or do anything? Do not thought, speech, and action, grow cold in the measure in which the affection which is from love ...
— Angelic Wisdom Concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom • Emanuel Swedenborg

... attack by shutting them from sight, and in a few brief and direct statements cuts into the substance and heart of the subjects. This felicity comes partly from his being a man gifted with spiritual discernment as well as spiritual feeling, and partly from the instinct of his nature to look at doctrines in their connection with life. He excels equally in interpreting the truth which may be hidden in a dogma, and in overturning dogmas in which no truth is to be found. In a single sermon, he often tells ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II, No. 8, June 1858 • Various

... principally ambition, which, by degrees, became mis-shaped into a specious patriotism. It is known how an ardently desired object pursued for a long period is apt to so monopolize and infatuate the mind as to totally vitiate and pervert the sense of discernment between right and wrong, both as to the legitimacy of the object and the means to be employed for its attainment. As the realization remains deferred and the efforts are increased, the object from being considered legitimate is by degrees invested with ...
— Origin of the Anglo-Boer War Revealed (2nd ed.) - The Conspiracy of the 19th Century Unmasked • C. H. Thomas

... wisdom, Newton, childlike sage! Sagacious reader of the works of God, And in His Word sagacious. Such too thine, Milton, whose genius had angelic wings, And fed on manna. And such thine, in whom Our British Themis gloried with just cause, Immortal Hale! for deep discernment praised, And sound integrity not more, than famed ...
— The Task and Other Poems • William Cowper



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