discern - definition and synonyms

verb [transitive] formal 

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/dɪˈsɜː(r)n/
present tense
I/you/we/theydiscern
he/she/itdiscerns
present participlediscerning
past tensediscerned
past participlediscerned
  1. 2
    to see or hear something, especially something that is far away or not very clear

    We could just about discern a small figure walking towards us.