tr.v. dis·cerned, dis·cern·ing, dis·cerns
1. To perceive with the eyes; detect or distinguish: discern a figure in the shadows.
2. To recognize or understand as being distinct or different: Researchers finally discerned the purpose of the gene. See Synonyms at see1.
[Middle English discernen, from Old French discerner, from Latin discernere, to separate : dis-, apart; see DIS- + cernere, to perceive; see krei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.