discernment


discernment
discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen are comparable when they denote keen intellectual vision. All imply power to see below the surface and to understand what is not evident to the average mind.
Discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or in appreciation of art)
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she had not had the discernment to discover the caliber of this young favorite— Belloc

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Discrimination emphasizes the power to distinguish and select the excellent, the appropriate, or the true
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there was a time when schools attempted ... to cultivate discrimination and to furnish the material on which selection can be founded— Grandgent

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nobody should reproach them for reading indiscriminately. Only by so doing can they learn discriminationTimes Lit. Sup.

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Perception implies quick discernment and delicate feeling
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of a temperament to feel keenly the presence of subtleties; a man of clumsier perceptions would not have felt as he did— George Eliot

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persecutors were ordinary, reasonably well-intentioned people lacking in keen perceptionSykes

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Penetration implies a searching mind and power to enter deeply into something beyond the reach of the senses
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it did not require any great penetration to discover that what they wished was that their letters should be as kind as was consistent with proper maidenly pride— De Quincey

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good little novels, full of Gallic irony and penetrationTime

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Insight emphasizes depth of discernment or of sympathetic understanding
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throughout the years he has used . . . techniques or insights provided by abstract art, to express better his statements about men and the world— Current Biog.

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Acumen suggests characteristic penetration and keenness and soundness of judgment
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a paradox which your natural acumen, sharpened by habits of logical attention, will enable you to reconcile in a moment— Cowper

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Analogous words: intuition, understanding, *reason: perspicaciousness or perspicacity, sagaciousness or sagacity, shrewdness, astuteness (see corresponding adjectives at SHREWD)
Contrasted words: stupidity, slowness, dullness, density, crassness (see corresponding adjectives at STUPID): blindness (see corresponding adjective BLIND)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Discernment — is a term used to describe the activity of determining the value and quality of a certain subject or event. Typically, it is used to describe the activity of going past the mere perception of something, to making detailed judgments about that… …   Wikipedia

  • Discernment — Dis*cern ment, n. [Cf. F. discernement.] 1. The act of discerning. [1913 Webster] 2. The power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another; power of viewing differences in objects, and their relations and tendencies;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • discernment — I noun acuity, acumen, acuteness, apperception, appreciation, ascertainment, astuteness, clairvoyance, cleverness, cognition, comprehension, conclusion, conspection, diagnosis, discovery, discretion, discrimination, farsightedness, good sense,… …   Law dictionary

  • discernment — (n.) 1580s; see DISCERN (Cf. discern) + MENT (Cf. ment) …   Etymology dictionary

  • discernment — [di zʉrn′mənt, dis sʉrn′mənt] n. 1. an act or instance of discerning 2. the power of discerning; keen perception or judgment; insight; acumen …   English World dictionary

  • discernment — noun Date: 1586 1. the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure ; skill in discerning 2. an act of discerning Synonyms: discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • discernment — di|scern|ment [dıˈsə:nmənt US ə:r ] n [U] formal 1.) the ability to make good judgments about people or about art, music, style etc ▪ the woman s taste and discernment 2.) when you notice or understand something ▪ the discernment of opportunities …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • discernment — [[t]dɪsɜ͟ː(r)nmənt[/t]] N UNCOUNT Discernment is the ability to judge which things of a particular kind are good and which are bad. ...their lack of discernment and acceptance of inferior quality. Syn: judgement …   English dictionary

  • discernment —    This word (from the Latin discernere, meaning to distinguish or to sift ) refers to the process of evaluating available options and then making a decision. Discernment of spirits refers to the process of deciding whether a course of action is… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • discernment — Synonyms and related words: acuity, acumen, acuteness, apperception, astuteness, clear sight, cogency, color vision, cone vision, critical discernment, day vision, daylight vision, discrimination, eye, eye mindedness, eyesight, farseeingness,… …   Moby Thesaurus


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