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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



... trimmings apparently decrease the height, and that vertical lines add to it, those who desire to appear at their best will use discernment in dividing their basques with yokes, or corsage mountings at the bust-line ...
— What Dress Makes of Us • Dorothy Quigley

... spirit of Truth guide you, it will bless you with keener discernment, and clearer understanding, than has been possible for you heretofore. It is when you look for the spirit of religion that you find it and understand it, and the fact that so much has been said against our Bible ...
— The Right Knock - A Story • Helen Van-Anderson

... horse when touched by the whip, be ye active and lively, and by faith, by virtue, by energy, by meditation, by discernment of the law you will overcome this great pain (of reproof), perfect in knowledge and in behaviour, ...
— The Dhammapada • Unknown

... the affair of the preserves, Mr. Wilmot was somewhat cool in his manner toward Julia, who had discernment enough to attribute the change to the right cause. Earnestly did she desire to win back his esteem, and she accordingly cast about for some method by which she could undo what she had done. She could think of no way except to acknowledge her error to Mr. Wilmot and promise to do better in the ...
— Tempest and Sunshine • Mary J. Holmes

... unquestionable truth, that the body of the people in every country desire sincerely its prosperity; but it is equally unquestionable, that they do not possess the discernment and stability necessary for systematic government. To deny that they are frequently led into the grossest errors by misinformation and passion, would be a flattery which their own good sense must despise. That branch ...
— American Eloquence, Volume I. (of 4) - Studies In American Political History (1896) • Various

... kindness from you, and so, from diffidence and restraint of tenderness, her face has set hard into coldness. But that is only a mask. How you treat each other, you women! And you are as wanting in discernment, too, as you are in kindness and sympathy. She has had to put on that mask of coldness to hide what you make her suffer, and it will take long loving to melt it now, and make her look human again. You misinterpret her silence too. How can you expect her ...
— The Beth Book - Being a Study of the Life of Elizabeth Caldwell Maclure, a Woman of Genius • Sarah Grand

... when a manufacturer there, found 90 per cent of pure iron in the refuse of his competitor, it is said. This he bought under long contract and worked over in his own mills. His neighbor's waste became a part of his fortune. And the result of that discernment and thrift is now furnishing an analogue for the conscious utilization of other waste—waste of native capacity of the steel-worker ...
— The French in the Heart of America • John Finley

... analogous objects under the same form for greater convenience in 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 their resemblance, he ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 2 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... 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 ...
— Report Of Commemorative Services With The Sermons And Addresses At The Seabury Centenary, 1883-1885. • Diocese Of Connecticut

... me—supreme drama of the Little Country, I can only say that the gods had selected their agent with a cunning so flawless that suspicion of his portents could not well have been aroused in one lacking discernment like unto the gods' very own. So trivially, so utterly, so pitiably casual, to eyes of the flesh, was this Potts of Little Arcady, from his immortal soul to the least item of his ...
— The Boss of Little Arcady • Harry Leon Wilson

... Mr Kavanagh seems to have made is, that he knew nothing of grammar; and had he stopped here, he would have been entitled to no small praise for discernment. But this was but ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, Number 360, October 1845 • Various

... 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 of experience, a reverence for the characteristic rights of ...
— Key-Notes of American Liberty • Various

... cried Belfield, with a laugh, "Miss Beverley does not mean to convey her person to town, and leave her understanding locked up, with other natural curiosities, in the country? Why, therefore, may not the same discernment regulate her adoption of new acquaintance, and choice of new connections, that guided her selection of old ones? Do you suppose that because she is to take leave of you, she is to ...
— Cecilia Volume 1 • Frances Burney

... felt, and the entire dependence upon Him not cultivated. Regeneration, the giving of Divine life, we all acknowledge to be God's act, a miracle of His power. The restoring or reviving of the Divine life, in a soul or a Church, is as much a supernatural work. To have the spiritual discernment that can understand the signs of the heavens, and prognosticate the coming revival, we need to enter deep into God's mind and will as to its conditions, and the preparedness of those who pray for it or are to be used to bring it about. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth ...
— The Ministry of Intercession - A Plea for More Prayer • Andrew Murray

... just to the latter. Not content 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, this ...
— The Bushman - Life in a New Country • Edward Wilson Landor

... and stood gazing out over the sunlit garden. In build and appearance, Tuppy somewhat resembles a bulldog, and his aspect now was that of one of these fine animals who has just been refused a slice of cake. It was not difficult for a man of my discernment to read what was in his mind, and it occasioned me no surprise, therefore, when his next words had to do with the subject marked with a cross ...
— Right Ho, Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... and not chagrin, The hermit never spoke of what he'd seen; But, from the youth's discernment, strove to hide, Whate'er regarded love, and much beside, The softer sex, with all their magick charms, That fill the feeling bosom with alarms. As years advanced, the boy with care he taught; What suited best his age before him brought; At five he showed him animals and flow'rs, ...
— The Tales and Novels, Complete • Jean de La Fontaine

... only conform my will to yours. I know but one thing, Lord, that it is good to follow you, and bad to offend you. Apart from that, I know not what is good or bad in anything. I know not which is most profitable to me, health or sickness, wealth or poverty, nor anything else in the world. That discernment is beyond the power of men or angels, and is hidden among the secrets of your Providence, which I adore, but do not seek ...
— Human Traits and their Social Significance • Irwin Edman

... has not been sought. Cannot you see, Eliza, how he instinctively recedes from it? how he would repel it were he less the gentleman than he is? Child, I shrink from saying these things to you, but it is needful. You have good sense, Eliza, keen discernment, and you might see for yourself that it is not to you Mr. Grame's love is ...
— The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 2, February, 1891 • Various

... certainly, to his eyes, still beautiful. And the call made on his intelligence had not been made in vain. The merchants of Aux Cayes, who had seen him tried in some "counter-revolution" in 1845, wrote to the consul of his "able and decided measures," "his cool, steady judgment and discernment," with admiration; and of himself, as "a credit and an ornament to H.M. Naval Service." It is plain he must have sunk in all his powers, during the years when he was only a figure, and often a dumb figure, in his wife's drawing-room; but with this new term of service he brightened visibly. ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 9 • Robert Louis Stevenson

... acquainted with my friend, Good In—er—Mr. Imsen." Pete considered that he was behaving with great discernment and tact. "This is Miss Georgie Howard, the new operator." He twinkled his little eyes at her maliciously. "Say, he ain't got but one chin, and he's only twenty-three years old." He felt that the inference was too plain ...
— Good Indian • B. M. Bower

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

... me if I say that I think Arnold was right—as he usually was right in a question of taste or critical discernment. For Emerson was essentially a prophet and theosophist, and not a man of letters, or creative artist. He could not have written a song or a story or a play. Arnold complains of his want of concreteness. ...
— Four Americans - Roosevelt, Hawthorne, Emerson, Whitman • Henry A. Beers

... 3rd of August his house is forced open at two o'clock in the morning, and he takes refuge in a steeple; the mob follow him, cut his throat and drag his head along the streets.—Not only do the people execute, but they pardon—and with equal discernment. On the 11th of August, at Versailles, as a parricide is about to be broken on the wheel, the crowd demand his release, fly at the executioner, and set the man free.[1409] Veritably this is sovereign power like that of the oriental sovereign who arbitrarily ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 2 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 1 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... AITON, author of the Hortus Kewensis, and Botanic Gardener to his Majesty. The great length of time[5], Mr. AITON has been engaged in the cultivation of plants, the immense numbers which have been the constant objects of his care through every period of their growth, joined to his superior discernment, give him a decided superiority in the prima facie knowledge of living plants over most Botanists the present day; his abilities in the other line of his profession, are displayed in the eulogies of all who have seen the ...
— The Botanical Magazine, Vol. V - Or, Flower-Garden Displayed • William Curtis

... to bear without a groan;—the older he grew, till he reached manhood, the severer the discipline he underwent. The intellectual education was little attended to: for what had sentinels to do with the sciences or the arts? But the youth was taught acuteness, promptness, and discernment—for such are qualities essential to the soldier. He was stimulated to condense his thoughts, and to be ready in reply; to say little, and to the point. An aphorism bounded his philosophy. Such an education produced its results in an athletic frame, ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... Wonderful discernment of the ethical prophet! We cease to see God omnipresent in all things, and our blindness ends in our destruction. We see the sensual allurement, but not the sensual hurt; we see the mermaid's head, but not the dragon's tail; we think we see our way to cut off that which we would have from ...
— Morality as a Religion - An exposition of some first principles • W. R. Washington Sullivan

... consideration of the present and the growing numbers in the front of our deliberation, because, Sir, this consideration will make it evident to a blunter discernment than yours, that no partial, narrow, contracted, pinched, occasional system will be at all suitable to such an object. It will show you that it is not to be considered as one of those minima which are out of the eye and ...
— Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America • Edmund Burke

... to the type of Gasparo da Salo, particularly in the middle bouts. Lastly, the quality of wood selected for the bellies is in both makers similar. In continuing the path trodden by Gasparo, Guarneri proved himself an artist possessed of no little discernment. His chief desire was evidently to make instruments capable of producing a quality of tone hitherto unknown, and that he succeeded is universally acknowledged. Workmanship, as evidenced by the instruments of his first and last epoch, was with him a purely secondary ...
— The Violin - Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators • George Hart

... a genial yet invigorating climate, in a land where breezes from the mountain and the sea were mingled, the versatile Greeks produced by physical training that vigor and grace of body which they so much admired; and they developed the civil polity, the artistic discernment, and the complex social life, which made them the principal source of modern culture. Their moral traits are not so admirable. As a race they were less truthful, and less marked for their courage and loyalty, than some other peoples ...
— Outline of Universal History • George Park Fisher

... command. They are to be seen superintending a court of justice, looked up to and trusted by the natives, who have quickly found out that the "boss" is just, firm, and that he will not believe a falsehood. The blacks have their native names for all these officials, most of them showing great discernment, and some of quite an ...
— South African Memories - Social, Warlike & Sporting From Diaries Written At The Time • Lady Sarah Wilson

... Kilspinnie was a thing I reckoned not of, yet therein you have proved yourself not only a very Joseph, but so ripe in wit beyond your years that your merits deserve more commendation than I can afford to give, for I have not sufficient to bestow on the singular prudence and discernment wherewith you have parried the treacherous thrusts of that Judas Iscariot, Winterton, for so I doubt not is the traitor who waylaid you. He was once in my service and is now in the Queen Regent's. In sending off my men on ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... and asking questions of a Bahman guest that was looking up. That trivial circumstance threw the king into a passion, and he gave orders that the Brahman should be put to death) for jealousy interferes with discernment. Then as that Brahman was being led off to the place of execution in order that he should be put to death, a fish in the market laughed aloud, though it was dead. The king hearing it immediately prohibited for the present the execution of the Brahman, ...
— Supplemental Nights, Volume 3 • Richard F. Burton

... to England, I quitted London to visit my sister. Her society was my chief solace and delight; and my spirits always rose at the expectation of seeing her. Her conversation was full of pointed remark and discernment; in her pleasant alcove, redolent with sweetest flowers, adorned by magnificent casts, antique vases, and copies of the finest pictures of Raphael, Correggio, and Claude, painted by herself, I fancied ...
— The Last Man • Mary Shelley

... Moses and Elijah talking with Him." How did the disciples know the Lawgiver and the Prophet? We are not told. There may have been given them some supernatural powers of discernment. They may have known by the conversation between Jesus and His celestial visitants, as, in earthly language with heavenly tone, they "spoke of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem," of which He had told them ...
— A Life of St. John for the Young • George Ludington Weed

... the moment is over he leaves his prey, more or less cruelly wounded, and gaily seeks new fields for his prowess. This sort of man likes young and inexperienced girls or women whose confiding trust exceeds their power of discernment. ...
— The Etiquette of Engagement and Marriage • G. R. M. Devereux

... that John O'Neill's daughter carried her charms and gifts to London town in the autumn of 1812, when she justified Kemble's discernment by one of the most brilliant series of impersonations, ranging from Juliet to Belvidera, that had been seen up to that time on the English stage. For seven years she shone a very bright star in the firmament of the drama, ...
— Love Romances of the Aristocracy • Thornton Hall

... superhuman virtue? Who gave to him this insight into the fundamental principles of morality? Who, in this respect, made him a greater light and a clearer expounder than the Christian Paley? Who made him, in all spiritual discernment, a wiser man than the gifted John Stuart Mill, who seems to have been a candid searcher after truth? In the wisdom of Socrates you see some higher force than intellectual hardihood or intellectual clearness. How much this pagan did to emancipate ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume I • John Lord

... voyage of "Brute the Trojan." One may reasonably believe that Jesus healed a case of violent insanity at Gadara, and reasonably disbelieve that the fire of heaven was twice obedient to Elijah's call to consume the military companies sent to arrest him. Cultivated discernment does not now put all Biblical miracles on a common level of credibility, any more than the historical work of Herodotus and that of the late Dr. Gardiner. To defend them all is not to vindicate, but to discredit all alike. The elimination of the indefensible, ...
— Miracles and Supernatural Religion • James Morris Whiton

... may be classified with the not least considerable contributions to Italian gnomic poetry in an age when literature easily assumed a didactic tone. The first has for its subject the importance of discernment and discrimination. It is written on the wisdom of what the ancient Greeks called [Greek: Kairos], or the right occasion ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete - Series I, II, and III • John Symonds

... these fatalities, for they can receive no lighter name, he possessed an imagination of unbounded capacity—was inflamed with those indescribable feelings which constitute, in the opinion of many, the very elements of genius—fearfully quick in the discernment of the darker qualities of character—and surrounded by temptation—his career ceases to surprise. It would have been more wonderful had he proved an amiable and well-conducted man, than the questionable and extraordinary being who ...
— The Life of Lord Byron • John Galt

... words of a critic of discernment, as he passed from drawing to drawing, "Frank Reynolds is right, right—right every time." This is praise to which one ...
— Frank Reynolds, R.I. • A.E. Johnson

... time, which is in September and October, the Indians examine the trees with keen discernment, and inasmuch as the cones require two years to mature from the first appearance of the little red rosettes of the fertile flowers, the scarcity or abundance of the crop may be predicted more than a year in advance. Squirrels, and worms, and Clarke crows, make haste to begin the harvest. ...
— Steep Trails • John Muir

... great silence among the Indians when Accomba had finished speaking. An Indian has great discernment, and not only can soon discover where the pathos of a story lies, but he will read as by intuition how much of it is true or false. Moreover, Michel's character was well known among them all, and his eccentricities had often excited their wonder and sometimes their censure. The poor woman's story ...
— Owindia • Charlotte Selina Bompas

... the first attack of the "jerks" among strangers is recorded. They hastily summoned old Jake Platt's son, just fresh from medical college, who, helpless with this suffering bit of femininity, supplied in attention and practical nursing what he lacked in medical discernment and skill, to the end that one engagement was broken and another formed in a fortnight. Old Jake had some money; the young doctor was starting in well, and needed a wife; she was still jealous, and young Dr. Platt got ...
— Our Nervous Friends - Illustrating the Mastery of Nervousness • Robert S. Carroll

... merit depended so entirely upon his action, that he was more deficient in every other quality than his namesake. But M. Piso derived all his talents from his erudition; for he was much better versed in the Grecian literature than any of his predecessors. He had, however, a natural keenness of discernment, which he greatly improved by art, and exerted with great address and dexterity, though in very indifferent language: but he was frequently warm and choleric, sometimes cold and insipid, and now and then ...
— Cicero's Brutus or History of Famous Orators; also His Orator, or Accomplished Speaker. • Marcus Tullius Cicero

... all this; Lettice resented it. She loved her husband dearly, and was proud of him, for she had discernment enough to see how superior he was in every way to her cousins, the young Holsters, who borrowed his horses, drank his wines, and yet had caught their father's habit of sneering at his profession. Lettice ...
— A Dark Night's Work • Elizabeth Gaskell

... 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 her ...
— Sir George Tressady, Vol. II • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... philosopher; you have no vanity, although you have a great deal of self-love. But your self-love does not blind you; it rather makes you exaggerate your faults than conceal them. You never extol yourself except when you are forced to do so by comparing yourself with other men. You possess discernment, very delicate tact, very correct taste; your ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... that we will not fail to seize our opportunities by setting up obstacles whereby we may become persona non grata through lack of discernment. ...
— Laugh and Live • Douglas Fairbanks

... Gilhaize," said he, "no farther instructions; for, unless I am mistaken in my man, you lack no better guide than your own discernment. So God be with you, and ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... nearly all true Boers, mostly of the backwoods type, extremely conservative, and inclined to be rather condescending in their attitude towards the clean-shaven town-dwellers. The almost universal respect inspired by a beard or a paunch is a poor tribute to human discernment. ...
— With Steyn and De Wet • Philip Pienaar

... on Treasury Bench, 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 mild with these gentry. Only let the Minister of Agriculture ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, April 12, 1890 • Various

... heart. "Was Clancy right after all?" she began to ask herself in a sort of dread and presentiment of trouble. Instinctively, and almost involuntarily, she grew slightly reserved and distant in manner, ceasing to meet his gaze in her former frank, affectionate way. With quick discernment he appreciated the change, and thought, "She is not ready yet, and, indeed, may never be ready." His manner, too, began to change, as a cloud gradually loses something of its warmth of color. Mara was grateful, and in her thoughts paid homage to ...
— The Earth Trembled • E.P. Roe

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

... pray look after the interests of my inner man," said the Baron, placing his hands to his heart. "I shall ever bear in mind the polite attention with which you have treated me, though it will take some time to forget the want of discernment your townsmen have exhibited in mistaking me for that abominable cat-man. What could have induced him ...
— Voyages and Travels of Count Funnibos and Baron Stilkin • William H. G. Kingston

... geographical knowledge than any other man of his time. They saw a person of middle age, plainly and rather carelessly dressed, whose deep-furrowed and well-tanned face indicated a man of quick and keen discernment, strong impulses, inflexible resolution, and habitual self-command. They heard a speaker whose command of his mother tongue was imperfect, and who apologized for his broken, hesitating speech by saying that he had not spoken the English language for nearly sixteen years. ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIV • John Lord

... our older poets, not because they are good, but because they are old. The origin and development of Roman poetry made it certain that perfection must come late. He assumes that Augustus champions the moderns, and compliments him on the discernment which preferred a Virgil and a Varius (and so, by implication, a Horace) to the Plautuses and Terences ...
— Horace • William Tuckwell

... Vicky. I must say that she has a quick discernment of character, and I have never seen her take any predilection for a person which was not motive by personal amiability, goodness, or distinction of some kind or other. You need be under no apprehension ...
— The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861 • Queen of Great Britain Victoria

... further," said Longstreet. "Our young friend here is obviously a lad of intelligence and discernment and what he saw in Washington shows that the North is resolved to crush us. The battle that we are going to fight will not be the last battle ...
— The Guns of Bull Run - A Story of the Civil War's Eve • Joseph A. Altsheler

... viii. 4.) Many expositors, of secular notions and affinities, imagine that some one of the Roman emperors is to be understood as represented by him who rides on the white horse,—Vespasian, Titus, or Trajan. To name such figments is enough to confute them in the mind of such as have spiritual discernment. "White" is not the divinely chosen symbol of bloody warriors or persecutors. It is most frequently the emblem of purity, legal or moral. (Matt. xvii. 2; Rev. iii. 4, 5.) "White horse" may represent the ...
— Notes On The Apocalypse • David Steele

... so 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 that Agrippina ordered of Locusta ...
— Imperial Purple • Edgar Saltus

... consideration, that a man's confidence is not the product of outward circumstances, but of his own fixed resolves. 'I will put my trust in Thee.' Nature says, 'Be afraid!' and the recoil from that natural fear, which comes from a discernment of threatening evil, is only possible by a strong effort of the will. Foolish confidence opposes to natural fear a groundless resolve not to be afraid, as if heedlessness were security, or facts could be altered by resolving not to think about them. True ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... rebellious. "And there's another: 'Beggars mustn't be choosers.' Yes, I know. Only, semi-annually I certainly do experience a burning wish that my dear rich relations were persons with a trifle keener sense of discernment as to which of their old clothes would be most appreciated by their poor cousins. They must now and then, Father Davy, wear something sensible. They must have morning clothes and street clothes—adorable ones. Why do they send only the worldly clothes to the manse? ...
— Under the Country Sky • Grace S. Richmond

... Washington joyfully accepted. Braddock had heard something of the Virginia colonel even before leaving England; and was not so much honoring this colonial officer, as immeasurably strengthening his own good right arm—if he had only had the discernment to know it. As results showed, Braddock did not need his heavy cannon nearly so much as he needed an ...
— Boys' Book of Famous Soldiers • J. Walker McSpadden

... friends and relations, forbye the minister, we had my father's cousin, Mr Alexander Clues, that was then deacon convener, and a man of great potency in his way, and possessed of an influence in the town-council of which he was well worthy, being a person of good discernment, and well versed in matters appertaining to the guildry. Mr Clues, as we were mellowing over the toddy bowl, said, that by and by the council would be looking to me to fill up the first gap that might happen therein; and Dr Swapkirk, ...
— The Provost • John Galt

... but she gathered this: that somehow Christ had opened the way for all believers into the very spiritual presence of God, into a holy place not made with hands (and the more real because it was not, being God-made and eternal), and that there worshipers stood before eyes of perfect discernment, unclothed by outward semblance, and offered "spiritual sacrifices" unto Him. It was a beautiful picture, but awful. Winifred shuddered as she thought of the august Presence that inhabited the Holiest of All that the minister spoke of, and wondered if she would dare approach it. To stand in ...
— The First Soprano • Mary Hitchcock

... help out with." Here we see another variation of the story. The amount of it is, that, while the mate thought assistance needed, and went to get it, Burroughs concluded to do the work himself. If the Prisoner had been allowed Counsel; or any discernment been left in the Judges, the whole of this evidence would have been thrown out of account, as without foundation and frivolous in its character; yet Increase Mather, who was present, was entirely carried away with it, and declared that, upon it alone, if on the Bench or in the ...
— Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather - A Reply • Charles W. Upham

... That He was sinless and full of love made it all the worse to bear. Not the physical pain, but the consciousness that He was encompassed by such an atmosphere of evil, was the sharpest pang. We should think with reverent sympathy of His perfect discernment of the sinful malignant hearts from which the sufferings came, of His pained and rejected love thrown back on itself, of His clear sight of what their heartless infliction of tortures would end in for the inflicters, ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture - Isaiah and Jeremiah • Alexander Maclaren

... "No person of common discernment who has read Dr. Buchanan's writings or conversed with him in relation to the topics which they treat, can have failed to recognize in him one of the very foremost thinkers of the day. He is certainly one of the most charming and instructive men to ...
— Buchanan's Journal of Man, May 1887 - Volume 1, Number 4 • Various

... people," he says, "but do it with discernment. First, look at a man, see what good you can get out of him, and see what he is good for. If you think he is a strong man, capable of work, help him. But if you think him weak and little suited for work, abandon him ...
— Contemporary Russian Novelists • Serge Persky

... it is understood that we push Coralie, eh? Put a few lines about her new engagement in your papers, and say something about her talent. Credit the management of the Gymnase with tack and discernment; will it ...
— Lost Illusions • Honore De Balzac

... most colossal scales, even surpassing in extent the far famed Waterloo House, but in none is the public more honourably served, or treated with a greater degree of courtesy and attention, than at the Grand Colbert; the taste and discernment with which their stock is selected, does the highest credit to the proprietors, and their premises being arranged and decorated so as to resemble a Moresque temple, as the purchasers behold spread around them in gay profusion all the rich and glowing tints ...
— How to Enjoy Paris in 1842 • F. Herve

... faculties are undoubtedly far below those of the dog, and possibly of other animals; and in matters beyond its daily experience it evinces no special discernment." ...
— The Minds and Manners of Wild Animals • William T. Hornaday

... both a trickster and a humorist and sets the will of the species beyond the discernment of the individual. The picador has to blindfold his horse in order to get him into the bull-ring, and likewise Dan Cupid exploits the myopic to ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers • Elbert Hubbard

... opinions of Sieur Hedelin, as set forth in the ninth paragraph of the chapter of "Injuriae per applicationem, per constructionem, et per se," in his "Duelli Lex scripta, et non; aliterque." The nicety of your discernment in all the matters here treated, will be sufficient, I am assured, to convince you that the mere circumstance of me referring you to this admirable passage, ought to satisfy your request, as a ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... that there was no necessity, his requirements being always reasonable and only such as she was fully capable of meeting. She had a good mind, quick discernment and retentive memory, and she was quite resolved to be industrious and to keep her promise to her father to be a good girl in every way. Also her ambition was aroused to attempt to ...
— Elsie's New Relations • Martha Finley

... revealed to the individual by direct inspection (intueor), and that we must be content with such evidence and must not seek for proof. It may be maintained that our moral judgments—or some of them—are the result of "an immediate discernment of the natures of things by the understanding." and appeal may be made to the analogy furnished by mathematical truths. [Footnote: This appeal has been made by famous intuitionists from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth— Cudworth, ...
— A Handbook of Ethical Theory • George Stuart Fullerton

... is that they do not take time to polish the jewels which the composers have selected with such keen aesthetic discernment. They think it enough if they merely succeed in playing the note. How horrible! A machine can play the notes, but there is only one machine with a soul and that is the artist. To think that an artist should play only the notes and forget the glories ...
— Great Pianists on Piano Playing • James Francis Cooke

... not wish to absorb India herself, but she was committed to the policy of "Asia for the Asiatics," and it did not take much discernment to see that some day ...
— Philip Dru: Administrator • Edward Mandell House

... personal and collective interests, and poisoned the springs of human kindness in many hearts. It was not alone hurtful to the slave: it transformed and blackened character everywhere, and fascinated those who were anxious for riches beyond the power of moral discernment. Here, however, as in New Jersey, the Negro found the Quaker his practical friend; and his upper and better life received the pruning advice, refining and elevating influence, of a godly people. But intelligence in the slave was an occasion of offending, and prepared him to realize his deplorable ...
— History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens • George W. Williams

... this useless prating!" he said imperatively yet good-naturedly—"In everything ye showed your dullard ignorance and lack of discernment. For, concerning the matter of attire, are not the fashions of Al-Kyris copied more or less badly in every quarter of the habitable globe?—even as our language and literature form the chief study and delight of all scholars ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... deceitfulness, to all who hear him, Is, with the sight of all the good, that is, Blest there. The limbs, 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 envy, when of truth he argued, Reading in the straw-litter'd ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... was Smellie's footstep and the sound of his voice which caused her eyes to sparkle, her cheek to flush, and her bosom to heave tumultuously. So, in extreme disgust at the lady's deplorable lack of taste and discernment, I was fain to abandon my efforts to fascinate her, attaching myself to her father instead and accompanying him, gun in hand, on his frequent rambles through the forest in ...
— The Congo Rovers - A Story of the Slave Squadron • Harry Collingwood

... rises at four o'clock in the morning, a Napoleon who dictates half the night in his bath, and who works eighteen hours a day, would scarcely suffice for its needs. Such a regime cannot operate without constant strain, without indefatigable energy, without infallible discernment, without military rigidity, without superior genius; on these conditions alone can one convert twenty-five millions of men into automatons and substitute his own will, lucid throughout, coherent throughout and everywhere ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 1 (of 6) - The Ancient Regime • Hippolyte A. Taine

... truth. "He was a man," says Felt, "of deep discernment, whom neither wealth nor honor could allure from duty. He poised with an equal balance the authority of the King, and the liberty of the people. Sincere in Religion and pure in his life, he overcame and ...
— Anne Bradstreet and Her Time • Helen Campbell

... passion, and sometimes of caprice, to which she was subject; and if he failed of persuading her in the first movement, his perseverance, and remonstrances, and arguments were sure at last to recommend themselves to her sound discernment. The more credit he gained with his mistress, the more was he exposed to the envy of her other counsellors; and as he had been supposed to adopt the interests of the house of Suffolk, whose claim seemed to carry ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part D. - From Elizabeth to James I. • David Hume

... continued Ernest, "very soon begins to assert her rights; the bud gradually twists itself round and ascends, whilst the root obeys a similar impulse and descends—is not this a proof of discernment?" ...
— Willis the Pilot • Paul Adrien

... their painful ecstasies. Surely their object is not the earning of bread or the acquiring of posts of honour? No, certainly not. But ye take as much pains as the famishing and breadless; and, with that eagerness and lack of discernment which characterises the starving, ye even snatch the dishes from the sideboard of science. If, however, as scientific men, ye proceed with science as the labourers with the tasks which the exigencies of life impose upon them, what will ...
— Thoughts out of Season (Part One) • Friedrich Nietzsche

... the door 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

... 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 of ...
— David Copperfield • Charles Dickens

... old felt that they lacked but one element; if they could obtain that one, they believed they could transmute the baser metals into pure gold. It is so in character. There are individuals with rare mental gifts, and delicate spiritual discernment who fail utterly in life because they lack the one element,—self- reliance. This would unite all their energies, and focus them into ...
— The Majesty of Calmness • William George Jordan

... ensuing Love his pleasures and becoming enamoured; the which,—albeit, were it known, I acknowledge it would not be seemly, yet,—being and abiding hidden, I hold[124] well nigh nothing unseemly; more by token that Love hath been insomuch gracious to me that not only hath he not bereft me of due discernment in the choice of a lover, but hath lent me great plenty thereof[125] to that end, showing me yourself worthy to be loved of a lady such as I,—you whom, if my fancy beguile me not, I hold the goodliest, the ...
— The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio • Giovanni Boccaccio

... the disciples were already gathered around and attached to Him, and attentive to what was going on around them. Hence it is added: 'And His disciples believed in Him,'" not because they then believed in Him for the first time, but because then "they believed with greater discernment and perfection." Or they are called "disciples" because "they were to be disciples later on," as Augustine observes (De Consensu ...
— Summa Theologica, Part III (Tertia Pars) - From the Complete American Edition • Thomas Aquinas

... the doctor with a delighted chuckle. "The old boy is a man of some discernment I can see. But the kid and you saved ...
— The Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail • Ralph Connor

... curiously to the side to meet his stare, and more than one remark was dropped anent the old Siwash with so strange a look upon his face. No end of men remembered afterward that they had been struck by his extraordinary figure, and forever afterward prided themselves upon their swift discernment of the unusual. ...
— The Spinner's Book of Fiction • Various

... the prices of railway and industrial shares have been forced enormously above the standard of actual values, and innumerable persons have parted with good money in exchange for mere phantoms of imaginary values. At such times the short sales of discernment, directing the X rays of clear-sighted criticism into the swollen and opaque mass of financial carrion that is exposed for sale in the market, are of the utmost benefit to the public. The bear is then a benefactor to the community, and ...
— The Arena - Volume 18, No. 92, July, 1897 • Various

... women like that," said a countryman with a grin, as he pointed to a photograph of one of Tintoret's most beautiful groups, "smoking cigarettes." And the mass of people in most northern countries have still passed little beyond this stage of discernment; in ability to distinguish between the beautiful and the obscene they are still on the level of the ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... for which we beg the reader's pardon; but we could not let the occasion pass without rendering this honest tribute to the public spirited farmer, who had the discernment to perceive its merits, and the liberality to aid its introduction, of one of the most valuable improvements of ...
— Obed Hussey - Who, of All Inventors, Made Bread Cheap • Various

... commanded the regiment "de Noailles." While he was there the Duke of Gloucester, brother of George III, king of England, came to that city and was present at a dinner given in his honor at the house of the governor of the garrison, the Count de Broglie. This count was a person of great sympathy and discernment. He had been observing the tall, red-haired boy of quiet, assured manner and few words, who represented so distinguished a family and gave so great promise for a future career. Eighteen years before ...
— Lafayette • Martha Foote Crow

... creditable to the young Princess' discernment to say she was blind to his feeling; yet she was careful to conceal the discovery from him, and still more careful not to encourage his hope. She placed the favor shown him to the account of gratitude; at the same time ...
— The Prince of India - Or - Why Constantinople Fell - Volume 2 • Lew. Wallace

... 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 For sanctity ...
— The Task and Other Poems • William Cowper

... Press: He has analyzed with ability and finish.... This is a story to be admired for its discernment and ...
— Cleo The Magnificent - The Muse of the Real • Louis Zangwill

... of Dr. Johnson—"Though a stern true-born Englishman, and fully prejudiced against all other nations, he had discernment enough to see, and candour enough to censure, the cold reserve too common among Englishmen towards strangers. 'Sir,' said he, (Johnson) 'two men of any other nation who are shown into a room together, at a house where they are both visitors, ...
— Life and Literature - Over two thousand extracts from ancient and modern writers, - and classified in alphabetical order • J. Purver Richardson

... adultery, afforded infinite gradations of guilt and innocence, of excuse and aggravation, which in these proceedings appear to have been confounded by the angry or corrupt passions of the judges. They easily discovered that the degree of their industry and discernment was estimated by the imperial court according to the number of executions that were furnished from their respective tribunals. It was not without extreme reluctance that they pronounced a sentence of acquittal; but they eagerly admitted ...
— The Superstitions of Witchcraft • Howard Williams

... Fellow, who chose in this Manner to pin himself upon another, is a very odd Species of impertinent Humour.—This Piece, as it stands, irresistibly forces your Mirth, and shakes you with Laughter; But to a Person of Discernment, it is chiefly at Horace's Expence; Who in receiving and enduring such insolent Treatment, appears in a Light too low and ridiculous, though he has thought fit himself to exhibit the Scene again for the ...
— An Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, Humour, Railery, Satire, and Ridicule (1744) • Corbyn Morris

... long, from the consciousness of a misapplied agitation; sane as well as excitable, he judged severely his moments of aberration into futile eagerness, and felt discredited with himself. All the more his mind was strained toward the discernment of that friend to come, with whom he would have a calm ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... 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 ...
— On the Eve • Ivan Turgenev

... orator, such an occurrence was rare, and a triumph was gained over him only by the greatest exertions of the greatest orators. His labored speeches, as will be testified to by all who have perused them, are rich in profound thought, a clear discernment and comprehension of events, causes, and results, and occasionally in passages of stately and brilliant eloquence. Graceful rhetoric and shrewd logic appear to be ever at his command, as he has occasion, in the course of argument, to resort to one or the other, to illustrate or ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 2, August, 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... natural that Helen, with the intuitive discernment of a pure and upright mind, and the penetration of a quick-witted woman, should be the first to detect the falsehood and cowardice of the boaster Parolles, who imposes ...
— Characteristics of Women - Moral, Poetical, and Historical • Anna Jameson

... settled before Mr Deans Arrival in France. Mr Lee acted as the political Minister. He pressd on Mr Beaumarchais "the maintaining the War in America as the great Object." And indeed it was so. Mr Lee and every Man of Discernment knew, that it was the Policy of France to consider it in this View. On this Consideration he succeeded, and yet, says Mr Beaumarchais, "the Gratitude of Congress is due to the indefatigable Pains Mr Dean has taken thro' the whole of the Commercial ...
— The Original Writings of Samuel Adams, Volume 4 • Samuel Adams

... and intelligence with which he had devoted himself to the consideration of every branch of naval science, to communicate his opinions thereupon. The first result of this invitation was a letter showing remarkable discernment of evils then existing, and curiously anticipating some later efforts to ...
— The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, Vol. II • Thomas Lord Cochrane

... regard to the study of physiognomy in general, it is further to be observed that intellectual capacity is much easier of discernment than moral character. The former naturally takes a much more outward direction, and expresses itself not only in the face and the play of feature, but also in the gait, down even to the very slightest movement. One could perhaps discriminate ...
— The Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer; Religion, A Dialogue, Etc. • Arthur Schopenhauer

... think knowledge and discernment my idol,' said Elizabeth; 'but we have wandered far away from my white convolvulus, and I have not done with it yet. When autumn came, and the leaves turned bright yellow, it was a ...
— Abbeychurch - or, Self-Control and Self-Conceit • Charlotte M. Yonge

... something too flippant 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 must trust in ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... 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 ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... was greatly enlivened 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

... survive, notwithstanding his personal reformation. So the suffering could not be penalty; but it could be chastisement. There might be "the fierceness of great wrath," as we read there was; but there was love behind. The people might not have the spiritual discernment to see their suffering in that light; but we have a clearer revelation than they had; so we read that "whom ...
— Love's Final Victory • Horatio

... some kind should 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 of, these open-mouthed listenings to every sound, are first ...
— The World's Greatest Books—Volume 14—Philosophy and Economics • Various

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

... and complex tendencies and aptitudes of Dr. Dewey in stimulating suggestions, which were refreshing as spring breezes. His mind gave hospitable welcome to each new fact disclosed by science, to all generous hopes for human refinement and ennobling ideals, while his discernment was keen to detect false sentiment or flashy sophisms. Again, some startling event would bring conventional customs and maxims to the judgment-bar of pure Christian ethics, when his moral indignation blazed forth with impartial equity against all degrading ...
— Autobiography and Letters of Orville Dewey, D.D. - Edited by his Daughter • Orville Dewey

... where he first fixed himself, so that he, by barking, denoted the presence of the birds without giving them alarm. Although, in this first instance, the action is purely rational, and is indeed good evidence of singular discernment and contriving skill, it seems likely that by careful breeding it may be brought into the realm of pure instinct or ...
— Domesticated Animals - Their Relation to Man and to his Advancement in Civilization • Nathaniel Southgate Shaler

... great respect. Indeed, his modesty led him to prefer everybody's good poetry to his own. He felt himself inferior not only to Burns, but also to Wordsworth and Campbell and Coleridge and Byron,—as in many respects he undoubtedly was; but it requires in an author discernment and humility of a rare kind, to make him ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume XIII • John Lord

... 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; ...
— The Orchestral Conductor - Theory of His Art • Hector Berlioz

... royalty demands thirty qualifications, the priesthood twenty-four, while the Torah is acquired by forty-eight. And these are they: By audible study; by distinct pronunciation; by understanding and discernment of the heart; by awe, reverence, meekness, cheerfulness; by ministering to the sages; by attaching oneself to colleagues; by discussion with disciples; by sedateness; by knowledge of the Scripture and of the Mishnah; by moderation in business, in intercourse with the world, in pleasure, ...
— Children of the Ghetto • I. Zangwill

... 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, ...
— The Ruins • C. F. [Constantin Francois de] Volney

... Astute Filipinos, of quicker discernment than their fellows, did not fail to perceive the material advantages to be reaped from a religious system, quite apart from the religion itself, in the power of union and its pecuniary potentiality. As a result thereof there ...
— The Philippine Islands • John Foreman

... down the walk towards them, they endeavored to adjust their looks, and to meet her with the wonted smile. But in vain. The tumult in their bosoms was still too visible in their looks to escape her discernment. She eagerly asked the cause. Their changing countenances served but to increase her fears and the vehemence of her curiosity. The bishop's letter was put into her hands. Its effects on the good old lady were truly distressing. ...
— The Life of General Francis Marion • Mason Locke Weems

... distinguish the danger and the courage to meet it. Milner's worn face and prematurely grizzled hair told of the crushing weight which had rested upon him during three eventful years. A gentle scholar, he might have seemed more fitted for a life of academic calm than for the stormy part which the discernment of Mr. Chamberlain had assigned to him. The fine flower of an English university, low-voiced and urbane, it was difficult to imagine what impression he would produce upon those rugged types of which South Africa is so peculiarly prolific. ...
— The Great Boer War • Arthur Conan Doyle

... and nicety of discernment were not allotted in a less proportion to Dryden than to Pope. The rectitude of Dryden's mind was sufficiently shown by the dismission of his poetical prejudices, and the rejection of unnatural thoughts and rugged numbers. But Dryden never desired to ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. IV (of X)—Great Britain and Ireland II • Various

... 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 ...
— Conversation - What to Say and How to Say it • Mary Greer Conklin



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