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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.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Discernment" Quotes from Famous Books



... the beginning of all things the Creator knew, that one day the inquisitive children of men would grope about after analogies and homologies, and that Christian naturalists would busy themselves with thinking out his Creative ideas; at any rate, in order to facilitate the discernment by the former that the opercular peduncle of the Serpulae is homologous with a branchial filament, He allowed it to make a detour in its development, and pass through the form ...
— Facts and Arguments for Darwin • Fritz Muller

... in that confused brain, where, under the sudden, overpowering rush of the blood, her reason was wavering and became overcast at the slightest shock. It had overturned that brain which was so prompt to go astray in fear or vexation, which lost so quickly the faculty of good judgment, of discernment, clear-sightedness and appreciation of its surroundings, which exaggerated its troubles, which plunged into foolish alarms, previsions of evil, despairing presentiments, which looked upon its terrors as realities, and was constantly ...
— Germinie Lacerteux • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

... rear this tractable race? Then count not yours the honor nor mine the shame, but accord both to that unknown Breeder who followed the genealogical tables and selected the mothers and fathers, uniting them with delicate discernment and hidden design. The pasturing of docile cattle involves no honor or glory, and I choose to render account of my pasturage to him alone who knew, better than I, what he did when he entrusted me ...
— The Bride of Dreams • Frederik van Eeden

... itself draweth men away to evil and to lower things. For the little power which remaineth is as it were one spark lying hid in the ashes. This is Natural reason itself, encompassed with thick clouds, having yet a discernment of good and evil, a distinction of the true and the false, though it be powerless to fulfil all that it approveth, and possess not yet the full light of truth, nor healthfulness of ...
— The Imitation of Christ • Thomas a Kempis

... of my mother has been described to me as a touching and melancholy scene. It appears that as this meek and retired woman was extricated from the coil of mortality, her intellect grew brighter, her powers of discernment stronger, and her character in every respect more elevated and commanding. Although she had said much less about our firesides and altars than her husband, I see no reason to doubt that she had ever ...
— The Monikins • J. Fenimore Cooper

... descended upon the manse the next day and cross-questioned Mary, who, being a young person of considerable discernment and astuteness, told her story simple and truthfully, with an entire absence of complaint or bravado. Miss Cornelia was more favourably impressed than she had expected to be, but deemed it her duty to ...
— Rainbow Valley • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... be out-balanced by the unendurable thought that his commonplace efforts had not been sufficient to save her from the two evilly-disposed individuals who are, as he perceives, at this moment, neglecting no means within their power to accomplish his destruction." Accepting the discernment of these words, the maiden fled, first bestowing a look upon Ling which clearly indicated an honourable regard for himself, a high-minded desire that the affair might end profitably on his account, and an amiable hope that they should meet again, when these subjects could be expressed more ...
— The Wallet of Kai Lung • Ernest Bramah

... and overgrown, With a round full-moon face, that fairly shone As though to meet the simile's demand. And, cumbrous though he seemed, both eye and hand Were dowered with the discernment and deft skill Of the true artisan: He shaped at will, In his old father's shop, on rainy days, Little toy-wagons, and curved-runner sleighs; The trimmest bows and arrows—fashioned, too. Of "seasoned ...
— A Child-World • James Whitcomb Riley

... this is the kind of answer Jones would give you. You get truth habitually from equals only; so my good Mr. Holyshade, don't talk to me about the habitual candor of the young Etonian of high birth, or I have my own opinion of YOUR candor or discernment when you do. No. Tom Bowling is the soul of honor and has been true to Black-eyed Syousan since the last time they parted at Wapping Old Stairs; but do you suppose Tom is perfectly frank, familiar, and aboveboard ...
— Roundabout Papers • William Makepeace Thackeray

... like a boy in his Saturday hat and Sunday breeches. So in went a large new window; and now these changes have mysteriously offended Mrs. Walter, who says the town is laughing at me for trying to outdo the Cobbs. The highest animal is the only one who is divinely gifted with such noble discernment. But I am not sorry to have my place look its best. When they see it, they will perhaps understand why I was not to be driven out by a golden cracker on their family whip. They could not have bought my little woodland pasture, where for a generation has been ...
— A Kentucky Cardinal • James Lane Allen

... never lend themselves to very strict definition. Yet he may be credited with a certain measure of discernment in pardoning the indelicacy of Fletcher and Massinger, while he condemns that of Dryden, Etherege, or Sedley. Indelicacy in the older dramatists does not ignore worthier interests. Other topics attracted the earlier writers besides conjugal infidelity and the frailty of virgins, which were ...
— Shakespeare and the Modern Stage - with Other Essays • Sir Sidney Lee

... of inhumation are capable of such variety as causes us already to foresee that the Necrophorus cannot employ fixed methods in performing his task. Exposed to fortuitous hazards, he must be able to modify his tactics within the limits of his modest discernment. To saw, to break, to disentangle, to lift, to shake, to displace: these are so many means which are indispensable to the grave-digger in a predicament. Deprived of these resources, reduced to uniformity of procedure, the insect would ...
— The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles • Jean Henri Fabre

... oldest prayers of the Synagogue, repeated thrice daily, occurs this paragraph: 'Thou dost graciously bestow on man knowledge, and teachest mortals understanding; O let us be graciously endowed by Thee with knowledge, understanding, and discernment. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, gracious Giver of Knowledge.' The intellect was to be turned to the service of the God from whom intelligence emanated. The Jewish estimate of intellect and learning led to some unamiable contempt of the fool and ...
— Judaism • Israel Abrahams

... to learn; relieved from the fear of criticism, he expanded, he glowed, he dogmatized. With Mrs. Lessingham he could not be entirely at his ease; her eye was occasionally disturbing to a pretender who did not lack discernment. But in walking about the museum with Mr. Bradshaw, he was the most brilliant of ciceroni. Jacob was not wholly credulous, for he had spoken of the young man with Mrs. Lessingham, but he found such companionship entertaining enough from time to time, and ...
— The Emancipated • George Gissing

... impossible for me to be deterred from the path of duty by a fear that my motives could be misjudged or that political prejudices could defeat the just consideration of the merits of my conduct. The result has shewn how safe is this reliance upon the patriotic temper and enlightened discernment of the people. That measure has now been before them and has stood the test of all the severe analysis which its general importance, the interests it affected, and the apprehensions it excited were calculated to produce, and it now remains for Congress to consider what legislation has ...
— State of the Union Addresses of Andrew Jackson • Andrew Jackson

... of women and then in a rousing appeal to women the speaker said: "A few days since I was asked by a compiler of other people's thoughts to express for him my opinion of the greatest need of American women and I replied, 'self-respect.' ... The assumption that woman have neither discernment nor judgment and that any man is superior in all the qualities that make for strength, stability and sanity to any woman, simply because he is a man and she is a woman, is still altogether too common. The time has come when women must question themselves ...
— The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume V • Ida Husted Harper

... perception—is explained by this indeterminateness and this choice. "But there is in this necessary poverty of conscious perception, something that is positive, that foretells spirit; it is, in the etymological sense of the word, discernment.'"[Footnote: Matter and Memory, p. 31 (Fr. p. 26).] The chief difficulty in dealing with the problems of Perception, is to explain "not how Perception arises, but how it is limited, since it should be the image of the whole and is in fact reduced to ...
— Bergson and His Philosophy • J. Alexander Gunn

... "sufficient price." He saw the immense latent value of the fertile deserts of the Empire. He grasped the full meaning of the truth that the arrival of a population with money and industry instantly gives good land a value. His discernment showed him the absurdity of giving colonial lands away in indefinite areas to the first chance grabbers, and the mistake of supposing that wage labour would not be required in young countries. His theory, therefore, was that colonizing associations ...
— The Long White Cloud • William Pember Reeves

... be admitted to service near the Divine throne, the gates of wisdom were opened unto him, and the gates of understanding, and of discernment, of life, peace, and the Shekinah, of strength and power, of might, loveliness, and grace, of humility and fear of sin. Equipped by God with extraordinary wisdom, sagacity, judgment, knowledge, learning, compassionateness, love, kindness, grace, humility, strength, power, might, ...
— The Legends of the Jews Volume 1 • Louis Ginzberg

... some surprise among the company, as you may imagine. Mrs. Fielding, being a lady of infinite discernment, suggested that the cake was poisoned, and related a narrative of a cake, which, within her knowledge, had turned a seminary for young ladies, blue. But she was overruled by acclamation; and the cake was cut by May, with much ...
— The Cricket on the Hearth • Charles Dickens

... with elevating their own idol with paeans and thanksgiving, before the gaze of a bedinned public, they persisted in shouting out their scorn and contempt at the pretensions of their unhappy neighbour. The public, with its usual discernment, gave implicit credence to both fables. Western Australia had met its contumelious detractors with silence; and the false statements were therefore looked upon as admitted and undeniable. But notwithstanding the injurious misrepresentations of enemies, and her own injurious silence, ...
— The Bushman - Life in a New Country • Edward Wilson Landor

... was white, in appearance she was short and squat, and she had a curiously disconnected habit of conversation, but for all that she was a person of great discernment, and uncommonly wide awake. She sided staunchly with Juliet in ...
— The Ashiel mystery - A Detective Story • Mrs. Charles Bryce

... dominions to his son Philip; together with his resolution to withdraw entirely from any concern in business or the affairs of this world, in order that he might spend the remainder of his days in retirement and solitude. Though it requires neither deep reflection nor extraordinary discernment to discover that the state of royalty is not exempt from cares and disappointment; though most of those who are exalted to a throne find solicitude, and satiety, and disgust to be their perpetual attendants in that envied preeminence, ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 9 • Various

... it," interposed Mr. Derby, with rare tact and discernment, "that both of you expect to be married, but not to each other as originally planned." Both Eleanor and Windomshire signified eager affirmation in more ways than one. "Then it seems to me a simple case of coincidence, ...
— The Flyers • George Barr McCutcheon

... And Maga followed the German into the open, where she denounced him to some of the Zeitoonli who recently arrived. They took him and threw him back into the fire—where he remained. I begin to like these Zeitoonli. I even like the gipsies more than formerly. They are men of some discernment, and of action!" ...
— The Eye of Zeitoon • Talbot Mundy

... family whose hereditary connection with Bethlem is so remarkable, it should be chronicled that Dr. James Monro was elected physician to Bethlem, 1728; he died 1752. His son describes him as "a man of admirable discernment, who treated insanity with an address that will not soon be equalled." Dr. John Monro succeeded his father in this post. "He limited his practice almost exclusively to insanity, and in the treatment of that disease ...
— Chapters in the History of the Insane in the British Isles • Daniel Hack Tuke

... sentiments. The fact is, that the Tale of a Tub is a continued panegyrick on the Church of England, and a bitter satire on Popery, Calvinism, and every sect of dissenters. At the same time I am persuaded, that every reader of taste and discernment will perceive in many parts of Swift's other writings strong internal proofs of that style which characterises the Tale of a Tub; especially in the Publick Spirit of the Whigs. It is well known, that he ...
— A Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral Character of the late Samuel Johnson (1786) • John Courtenay

... and taste: his critical knowledge of our language and poetry was such as few foreigners have possessed; and few of our countrymen could enjoy the theatre of Shakspeare and Garrick with more exquisite feeling and discernment. The consciousness of his own strength, and the assurance of my aid, emboldened him to imitate the example of Dr. Maty, whose Journal Britannique was esteemed and regretted; and to improve his model, by uniting with the transactions ...
— Memoirs of My Life and Writings • Edward Gibbon

... frequently threw in broad dock-leaves, for him to take shelter under from the heat. He soon grew to know me, and would actually come at my call from the farthest end of the trough. He was very shy of others, and I was not sorry, for I wanted all his affection, and was proud of his discernment. This was thought so singular that I was often sent out with visitors, to show off my pet. I don't believe that the keeper of the hippopotamus can be prouder of his mud-loving monster than I was of ...
— Stories of Many Lands • Grace Greenwood

... And the same discernment was shown when he was purchasing old furniture, brass, and so-called Sheffield plate to increase Otto's stock. If the articles offered could still boast of either handle, leg, or back of their original state and the price was fair, they were almost ...
— Felix O'Day • F. Hopkinson Smith

... of inquietude which has given birth to them. Instead of undertaking particular recommendations on this subject in which I could be guided by no lights derived from official opportunities, I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good, for I assure myself that while you carefully avoid every alteration which might endanger the benefits of an united and effective government, or which ought to await the future lessons ...
— Key-Notes of American Liberty • Various

... seems that I have still some discernment, for just so I judged him. Well, what more do you ...
— Pearl-Maiden • H. Rider Haggard

... grand vizier made a report of divers important 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 ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete • Anonymous

... intrenchments behind the forms of politeness; he laid in a provision of formulas, and made lavish use of his stock of the catch-words coined at need in Paris to give fools the small change for the ore of great ideas and events. Among men of the world he was reputed a man of taste and discernment; and as a bigoted upholder of aristocratic opinions he was held up for a noble character. If by chance he slipped now and again into his old light-heartedness or levity, others were ready to discover an undercurrent of diplomatic intention beneath his inanity and silliness. "Oh! he only ...
— A Woman of Thirty • Honore de Balzac

... condition of things 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 ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol. 31, No. 1, May 1908 • Various

... fearlessly to undertake whatsoever I think offers a common 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 and judgment, ...
— Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius • Niccolo Machiavelli

... retraced his steps, and rode back into the woods. But the mist grew denser, the moon was altogether hidden, the roads were very bad, the ruts deep. Twice Grise nearly fell; laden as she was, she lost courage, and although she retained sufficient discernment to avoid running against trees, she could not prevent her riders from having to deal with huge branches which barred the road at the level of their heads and put them in great danger. Germain lost his hat in one of these encounters, and had great difficulty in ...
— The Devil's Pool • George Sand

... humanity on a novel basis. Democracy will have a great deal to do in the new Europe. It, too, had better refurbish its old watchwords. It has got to set itself patiently to the business of preventing future wars by the extension of its sympathies and its clear discernment of all that imperils its future development and progress. Above all, it has got to solve that most difficult problem of creating a Public Will and a Common Conscience in Europe, a conscience sensitive to the demands of a higher ethics, ...
— Armageddon—And After • W. L. Courtney

... the seminal principles of vice and virtue, or sound the depths of the heart for the motives of action. All those enquiries, which from that time that human nature became the fashionable study, have been made sometimes with nice discernment, but often with idle subtilty, were yet unattempted. The tales, with which the infancy of learning was satisfied, exhibited only the superficial appearances of action, related the events but omitted the causes, and were formed for such as delighted ...
— Preface to Shakespeare • Samuel Johnson

... therewith." Shocked at so rude an admonition, Henry III. answered, "It is God who made me king; and as I bear the title of Most Christian King, I have ever been very zealous for the preservation of the Catholic religion. . . . It appertains to me alone to decide, according to my discernment, what may contribute to the public weal, to make laws for to procure it, to interpret those laws, to change them, and to abolish them, just as I find it expedient. I have done so hitherto, and I shall still do so for the future;" and he dismissed the ambassadors. That very evening, on reflecting ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume IV. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... begin from the cradle. Whoever has watched with any discernment the wide-eyed gaze of the infant at surrounding objects, knows very well that education does begin thus early, whether we intend it or not; and that these fingerings and suckings of everything it can lay hold ...
— The World's Greatest Books—Volume 14—Philosophy and Economics • Various

... Baronet, "I am obliged to you for your opinion of my discernment, but you will at least give me credit for seeing ...
— Red Cap Tales - Stolen from the Treasure Chest of the Wizard of the North • Samuel Rutherford Crockett

... be a prevailing sentiment, that were it not for the advantages of Cape Town, Simon's Bay would, in every respect, be preferable for the royal dockyard, and the equipment of His Majesty's ships. It was remarked to me by an officer of discernment, captain of the flag ship, that instances of vessels being driven from their anchors by winds blowing into Simon's Bay, were exceedingly rare. He had observed that the strain upon the cables with these winds, was much ...
— A Voyage to Terra Australis • Matthew Flinders

... of restlessness did little Mistress Lucy Woodley go to bed in Rose's room that night. She was quite comforted on Edmund's account, for she had discernment enough to see that her mother and sister did not believe Diggory's dreadful narration; and she had been so unsettled and excited by Mr. Sylvester Enderby's notice, and by the way in which she had allowed her high spirits to get the better of her discretion, as well as ...
— The Pigeon Pie • Charlotte M. Yonge

... his hanger by his side. Having reached about the middle of the church-yard, he observed, sure enough, something in white moving backwards and forwards; but the haziness of the night prevented his strict discernment of the figure's shape. As it appeared advancing towards him, a momentary trepidation seized him. He retreated a few steps; but, soon recovering himself, he resolutely cried out, "Who comes here?" No answer being made, he ...
— Apparitions; or, The Mystery of Ghosts, Hobgoblins, and Haunted Houses Developed • Joseph Taylor

... for the editor to draw any comparison between the Scottish and Norwegian narratives; he, therefore, leaves it to the discernment of the reader to fix what medium ...
— The Norwegian account of Haco's expedition against Scotland, A.D. MCCLXIII. • Sturla oretharson

... dogging his footsteps." I mean to say, I uttered the words in the most solemn manner. Little the woman knew that one may often be moved in the most distressing moments to a jest of this sort. She laughed heartily, being of quick discernment. And thus jauntily did I carry my knowledge of the lowering cloud. But I permitted myself no further sallies of that sort. I stayed expectantly by the window, and I dare say my bearing would have deceived the most alert. ...
— Ruggles of Red Gap • Harry Leon Wilson

... him derisively said, as she looked into his face: "Truly a most gallant husband and a gentleman! And so, forsooth, you would desert your wife because she has forgotten the memory of her dead boy—whom she never truly loved—and because she thirsts after pleasure and excitement! What wondrous discernment! What a wise judge of human nature!" Her ironical laugh ...
— A Lover in Homespun - And Other Stories • F. Clifford Smith

... conduct of average human beings. A certain amount of conscience and of disinterested public spirit may fairly be calculated on in the citizens of any community ripe for representative government. But it would be ridiculous to expect such a degree of it, combined with such intellectual discernment, as would be proof against any plausible fallacy tending to make that which was for their class interest appear the dictate of justice and of the general good. We all know what specious fallacies may ...
— Considerations on Representative Government • John Stuart Mill

... acquaintance 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 and ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... scenes of common danger. Go to Afghanistan and China, and you will find the feeling between officers and men as fine as ever it was in days of yore, whatever it may be at our large and gay stations, where they see so little of each other. [W. H. S.] The author's reputation for sagacity and discernment could not be made to rest upon the above remarks. His judgement was led astray by his lifelong association with and affection for the native troops. Lord William Bentinck took a far juster view of the situation, and understood far better the real nature of the ties which bind ...
— Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official • William Sleeman

... to one of his brothers when that gave him pleasure. When he (Karmath) saw that he had become absolute master of their minds, had assured himself of their obedience, and found out the degree of their intelligence and discernment, he began to lead them quite astray. He put before them arguments borrowed from the doctrines of the Dualists. They fell in easily with all that he proposed, and then he took away from them all religion and released them from all those duties of piety, devotion, and ...
— Secret Societies And Subversive Movements • Nesta H. Webster

... the truth, Mrs. Flagg had not been particularly struck by the moral worth of her lodger, and this testimony led her to entertain doubts as to the discernment of her clerical visitor. ...
— Paul the Peddler - The Fortunes of a Young Street Merchant • Horatio Alger, Jr.

... 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 so ...
— Seven Discourses on Art • Joshua Reynolds

... perfectly sensible that I expose myself to criticism, and perhaps to the mockery of many readers, who regard this matter as done with, and decried in the minds of philosophers, learned men, and many theologians. I must not reckon either on the approbation of the people, whose want of discernment prevents their being competent judges of this same. My aim is not to foment superstition, nor to feed the vain curiosity of visionaries, and those who believe without examination everything that is related to them as soon as they find therein anything marvelous and ...
— The Phantom World - or, The philosophy of spirits, apparitions, &c, &c. • Augustin Calmet

... 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 ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... impropriety of such enticements, their impolicy very soon betrays itself, and when the men detect the fallacy, the result shows itself in the paucity of volunteers. The truth is, Jack, with all his vagaries, possesses a quick discernment in such matters, and is very seldom deceived by chaff. It will seldom, if ever, retard the proper manning of a ship to be very fastidious in choosing amongst the volunteers who offer. The best men ...
— The Lieutenant and Commander - Being Autobigraphical Sketches of His Own Career, from - Fragments of Voyages and Travels • Basil Hall

... Tony, and left him completely nonplussed by her uncanny discernment when, after he had stumbled through the revelation of his engagement to Doreen Neville, during one of the intervals, she promptly told him she had anticipated it long ...
— The Vision of Desire • Margaret Pedler

... reconstruction of our entire commercial system, as represented by his new Tariff. What courage was requisite to grapple with this giant difficulty! What practical skill; what patience and resolution; what exact yet extensive acquaintance with mercantile affairs; what a comprehensive discernment of consequences; what firm impartiality in deciding between vast conflicting interests, were here evinced! And observe—all these great measures, effecting a complete revolution in our domestic economy and policy—the ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 - Vol. 53, January, 1843 • Various

... listened to this conversation with lowering brow. HER MAJESTY had but lately testified afresh to her wisdom and discernment by calling him to her councils; and yet there were men so lost to all sense of decency as to wrangle over the wages of a rat-catcher at Buckingham Palace or the turncock at Kensington. PLUNKET a little too ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, April 12, 1890 • Various

... merrily at the small invalid's powers of discernment, and were finally persuaded to attend the party which was barred to her. So they donned their daintiest dresses, robbed the greenhouse for their adornment, kissed the little sister fondly and hurried away into the night. Peace listened to the sound of ...
— Heart of Gold • Ruth Alberta Brown

... speech," say the Arabs. Even the English Unitarians were one day to have their Poet, and the best that could be said for them too was to be said. I admire this good lady's integrity, sincerity; her quick, sharp discernment to the depth it goes: her love also is great; nay, in fact it is too great: the host of illustrious obscure mortals whom she produces on you, of Preachers, Pamphleteers, Antislavers, Able Editors, and other Atlases bearing (unknown to us) the world on their ...
— The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, - 1834-1872, Vol. I • Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson

... grows doctors and clergymen with almost equal success and profusion. There is in the national character a considerable share of the constituents that are valuable in both professions. Power of sympathy, good-nature, intuition, adroitness, discernment of character, and a gift for taking every man in his humour. Qualities that are perhaps beside the specialised requirements, but ...
— Mount Music • E. Oe. Somerville and Martin Ross

... right, and respected her for the discernment. "My love," he said, "I'm a self-centred, arrogant beast, and I don't like to think about it. But you'll make something of me if you think it worth while. But listen to me, Lucy. I'm going to talk to you seriously." Then he ...
— Love and Lucy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... Scriptures, protecting them from 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, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II, No. 8, June 1858 • Various

... virtue was increased, in another negligence stirred up, and in others conceit stopped, while all were persuaded to despise the plots of the devil, wondering at the grace which had been given to Antony by the Lord for the discernment of spirits. So the cells in the mountains were like tents filled with divine choirs, singing, discoursing, fasting, praying, rejoicing over the hope of the future, working that they might give ...
— The Hermits • Charles Kingsley

... demands thirty qualifications (21), the priesthood twenty-four (22), while the Torah is acquired by forty-eight. And these are they: by audible study; by a listening ear (23); by distinct pronunciation; by understanding (24) and discernment of the heart; by awe, reverence, meekness, cheerfulness (25); by ministering to the sages, by attaching one's self to colleagues, by discussion with disciples; by sedateness; by knowledge of the Scripture and of the Mishnah; by moderation ...
— Pirke Avot - Sayings of the Jewish Fathers • Traditional Text

... passed between them, and as the 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 ever ...
— Eugene Field, A Study In Heredity And Contradictions - Vol. I • Slason Thompson

... reports with protestations of attachment and fidelity; and he took care to contrive occasions of adding marginal notes with his own hand, in which he adroitly displayed in a distinguished manner his devotion, discernment, and activity. All his reports in general bore the same stamp: with much of cunning, and much of talent, they offered to the eye a rare and valuable assemblage of quickness and judgment, of moderation and firmness: at every word you might discover ...
— Memoirs of the Private Life, Return, and Reign of Napoleon in 1815, Vol. II • Pierre Antoine Edouard Fleury de Chaboulon

... that come not within the discerning of sense. Now in regard to this bread, the Papists do overreach themselves. Did they but tell us that the change made was mystical and of faith,—not within the discernment of sense—we might then find it harder work to deal withal, and we must seek unto the Word of God only, and not unto our sense in any wise. But they go farther: they tell us the change is such, that there is no more the substance of bread left at all. [Note 2.] This therefore is ...
— Clare Avery - A Story of the Spanish Armada • Emily Sarah Holt

... and delight there comes discernment, by which we not only discern whether this thing be white or black (because this alone belongs to the outer sense), and whether this thing be wholesome or hurtful (because this belongs to the inner sense), but also discern why this delights and give a reason therefor. And in this act we inquire ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 5 • Various

... as soon believe the Buddhist Jataka as such a wholly irrational account of the ways of God with man. Just think of the palaeolithic man, who had no glimmering of moral discernment; think of the cave-men whose skulls we possess in scores, that bear eloquent testimony to their deplorable degradation—think of such creatures dying, and their mental and moral status stereotyped for ever. "Death ends our probation!" A precious revelation this! Where ...
— Morality as a Religion - An exposition of some first principles • W. R. Washington Sullivan

... the lecture hall. Both of them, in the case of the extreme realists, are being used as the store-room or the dissecting chamber of the experimental scientist. Supposing that an author's facts are supremely important, his discernment most acute, his ideas significant, still, before we condemn the public unheard, we are compelled to ask of him: Have you given to this material a form which it will accept? Have you addressed the public in a language which has a wide human appeal? Are you, in fact, a ...
— Personality in Literature • Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

... magnificent, that Rome, enthralled, applauded. Beyond, on the Rhine, a city which is today Cologne, rose in honor of her sovereignty. To her wishes the senate was subservient, to her indiscretions blind. Claud, who meanwhile had been wholly sightless, suddenly showed signs of discernment. A woman, charged with illicit commerce, was brought to his tribunal. He condemned her, of course. "In my case," he explained, "matrimony has not been successful, but the fate that destined me to marry impure women destined me also to punish them." It was then ...
— Imperial Purple • Edgar Saltus

... "A prodigious discernment, by the Host!" He seemed to incline rather tediously to irony. Then his face grew stern, and he lowered his voice until it was no more than a growling whisper. "Heed me, Messer Gonzaga. If the service you require be the slitting of a gullet or some kindred foul business, ...
— Love-at-Arms • Raphael Sabatini

... friendly faces, and made much of by all in the fort. He, being able to speak French fluently, made himself a great favorite with the men, and he enjoyed many long conversations with the Abbe, who was a man of much acumen and discernment, and saw more clearly the course which events were likely to take than did those ...
— French and English - A Story of the Struggle in America • Evelyn Everett-Green

... exist in France, and terrible the danger which it at once brought upon the neighbouring states. It was rendered the more formidable in the time of Louis XIV., from the extraordinary concentration of talent which his discernment or good fortune had collected around his throne, and the consummate talent, civil and military, with which affairs were directed. Turenne, Boufflers, and Conde, were his generals; Vauban was his engineer, Louvois and Torcy were his statesmen. The lustre of the exploits of these illustrious ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845 • Various

... you wouldn't understand me if I should hint that Mrs. Parker has the consumption, and can't live always." Mary's looks plainly told that this remark had given her no idea whatever, and Sal continued, "I knew you wouldn't understand, for you haven't my discernment to begin with, and then you were never sent away to ...
— The English Orphans • Mary Jane Holmes

... one. It was the utterance of an experienced man; and in many ways true, for one of the most singular gifts, or, if abused, most singular weaknesses, of the human mind is its power of persuading itself to see whatever it chooses;—a great gift, if directed to the discernment of the things needful and pertinent to its own work and being; a great weakness, if directed to the discovery of things profitless or discouraging. In all things throughout the world, the men who look ...
— Modern Painters, Volume IV (of V) • John Ruskin

... a sense of justice, appreciation of moral firmness, sympathy for suffering innocence, the diffusion of refined sensibility, a discriminating discernment of what is really worthy of commemoration among men, a rectified taste, a generous public spirit, and gratitude for the light that surrounds and protects us against error, folly, and fanaticism, shall demand the rearing of a suitable monument to the memory of those who in 1692 preferred death ...
— Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II • Charles Upham

... crowded together under a dirty shed near the levee, and the vessel from which they had been landed rode at anchor in the river. They were the scrawny, tough ponies of the plains, reasonably cheap, and it took no great discernment on my part to choose three of the strongest and most intelligent looking. We went next to a saddler's, where I selected three saddles and bridles of Spanish workmanship, and Mr. Clark agreed to have two of his servants meet us with the horses before Madame Bouvet's within the hour. ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... attracts so much attention from the casual visitor as this slab of black basalt on its telescope-like pedestal. The hall itself, despite its profusion of strangely sculptured treasures, is never crowded, but before this stone you may almost always find some one standing, gazing with more or less of discernment at the strange characters that are graven neatly across its upturned, glass-protected face. A glance at this graven surface suffices to show that three sets of inscriptions are recorded there. The upper one, occupying ...
— A History of Science, Volume 4(of 5) • Henry Smith Williams

... And the various parties, pointing out 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 ...
— The Ruins • C. F. [Constantin Francois de] Volney

... had chosen a soft, creamy stuff which he informed Mattie must be trimmed with no end of lace. Phillis had received and executed the order with such skill and discernment that a most ravishing costume had been produced. But Grace, who had her own ideas on the subject of those "Challoner girls," had received the gift somewhat coldly, and had even seemed displeased when her father pinched her ear and told her that Archie's gown ...
— Not Like Other Girls • Rosa N. Carey

... intolerably was this discernment of the way in which—at least since their honeymoon—he must have been criticising and judging her—judging her by comparison with another woman. She seemed to see at a glance, the whole process of his mind, and ...
— Sir George Tressady, Vol. II • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... mother's wrappers very beautiful, but now look at this! Cynthia's face, too, in the dim, rosy light, looked very fair to the child, who had no discernment for those ravages of time of which adults either acquit themselves or by which they measure their own. She did not see the faded color of the woman's face at all; she did not see the spreading marks around mouth and eyes, or the faint parallels of care on the temples; ...
— The Portion of Labor • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... 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 a ...
— The Man Upstairs and Other Stories • P. G. Wodehouse

... demanding that Dorian should be at the head of the new Government. He is not a Demagogue, he has written no despatches, nor made any speeches, nor decreed any Utopian reforms after the manner of his colleagues. But, unlike them, he is a practical man of business, and this the working men have had discernment enough to discover. They are hardly to be blamed if they have accepted literally the rhetorical figures of Jules Favre. When he said that, rather than yield one stone of a French fortress, Paris would bury itself beneath ...
— Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris • Henry Labouchere

... her discernment. "Oh, but that is true!" he cried. "How wonderful, then, that you should be able to trust ...
— King John of Jingalo - The Story of a Monarch in Difficulties • Laurence Housman

... physiognomist might have suspected that she wanted the valuable quality of firmness, which in her position was especially necessary; for she already possessed a good fortune, and would inherit a considerable one. Her father, although a sailor of the old school, was not destitute of discernment, and thoroughly understanding her character, earnestly wished to see her married to a sensible, upright man, who would protect her and take good care of her property. He had therefore given every encouragement to Harry Caulfield, son of his old and esteemed friend, General ...
— Clara Maynard - The True and the False - A Tale of the Times • W.H.G. Kingston

... one set of dispositions which tend to his animal preservation, 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 ...
— An Essay on the History of Civil Society, Eighth Edition • Adam Ferguson, L.L.D.

... who solicit my assistance, and to poor emigrants. But I will try to be more economical in future. Tell him so if you see him again, But is it not my duty to bestow as much in charity as I can?"—"Yes, Madame; but permit me to say that nothing requires greater discernment than the distribution of charity. If you had always sat upon a throne you might have always supposed that your bounty always fall into the hands of the deserving; but you cannot be ignorant that it oftener ...
— Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

... a kind of infinite and eternal misery. Now, however, I see a goal, and when I have reached it, there is nothing more to be feared; but you seem to me to follow the opinion of Epicharmus,[7] a man of some discernment, and sharp enough for ...
— Cicero's Tusculan Disputations - Also, Treatises On The Nature Of The Gods, And On The Commonwealth • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... be right that a combination should be formed to wipe him out of creation. He should be put down,—as you would put down a tiger or a rattlesnake, if found at liberty somewhere in the Midland Counties. A more hateful character, to all who possess a grain of moral discernment, could not even be imagined. And it need not be shown that the conception of such a character is worthy only of a baby. However many years the man who deliberately and admiringly delineates such a person may have lived in this world, intellectually he cannot be more than about seven years old. And ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 58, August, 1862 • Various

... John Eustace, who was somewhat nearly concerned in the matter, raised no objection to this proposal. There was ever something grand about these Eustaces. Sir Florian was a grand gentleman; but surely he must have been dull of intellect, slow of discernment, blear-eyed in his ways about the town, when he took Lizzie Greystock,—of all the women whom he could find in the world,—to be the purest, the truest, and the noblest. It has been said of Sir Florian that he did not believe in virtue. He freely expressed disbelief ...
— The Eustace Diamonds • Anthony Trollope

... society and of every individual member of society that general laws should be obeyed. It is obvious also, that there are many cases, in which the calculation of expediency involves details too numerous and too complicated to be fully understood by a mind of ordinary discernment, while the same mind can clearly perceive what course of conduct is in accordance with the strict rule of right. Still farther, in a question of conduct in which appetite, desire, or affection is concerned, we cannot take as calm and dispassionate a view of our true interest, as we should of the ...
— A Manual of Moral Philosophy • Andrew Preston Peabody

... the apt correlation of the arts which accounts for the acknowledgment by an English story writer that she got her style from Ruskin's "Principles of Drawing"; and of a landscape painter that to sculpture he owed his discernment of the forest secrets, by daily observing the long lines of statues in the corridor of the Royal Academy; or by the composer of pictures to the composer of music; or by the preacher that suggestions to discourse had come to him through the pictorial ...
— Pictorial Composition and the Critical Judgment of Pictures • Henry Rankin Poore

... how much I fear lest pride it be; But if that pride it be which thus inspires, Beware, ye dames! with nice discernment see Ye quench not too ...
— Murad the Unlucky and Other Tales • Maria Edgeworth

... of their embryo powers for the express purpose that during that interval they may be guided by our reason, and not by their own. We can not surrender this trust. But there is a way of faithfully fulfilling the duties of it—if we have discernment to see it, and skill to follow it—which will make the years of their childhood years of tranquillity and happiness, both to ...
— Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young • Jacob Abbott

... chance to come he watched her, noting her every movement, her troubled smile, her air of being apart and above her surroundings. He noticed, too, the set face of the young man at her side and, with the discernment of one whose own interest is captive, saw the half-concealed longing in his eyes. He felt a quick antipathy to this young man. His assured position at the girl's side accentuated how far he himself was removed from ...
— Ranson's Folly • Richard Harding Davis

... by the accession of a new member. His conversation abounded with novelty. His gaiety was almost boisterous, but was capable of yielding to a grave deportment when the occasion required it. His discernment was acute, but he was prone to view every object merely as supplying materials for mirth. His conceptions were ardent but ludicrous, and his memory, aided, as he honestly acknowledged, by his invention, was ...
— Wieland; or The Transformation - An American Tale • Charles Brockden Brown

... respect of Time, you often fall into a greater, which is, that the Voice remains unaccompanied, and deprived of Harmony; and thereby becomes flat and tiresome to the best Judges. You will perhaps say in Excuse, that few Auditors have this Discernment, and that there are Numbers of the others, who blindly applaud every thing that has an Appearance of Novelty. But whose fault is this? An Audience that applauds what is blameable, cannot justify your ...
— Observations on the Florid Song - or Sentiments on the Ancient and Modern Singers • Pier Francesco Tosi

... 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, ...
— The Odyssey of Homer • Homer

... able lawyer, and on many occasions exhibited a very clear and correct judicial discernment of intricate cases. It was one of his peculiarities that he never sat on the bench with his brother judges, but always at the clerk's table. Different reasons for this practice have been given, but the ...
— Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character • Edward Bannerman Ramsay



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