discern (someone or something) from (someone or something)

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discern (someone or something) from (someone or something)

1. To recognize the differences between people or things. I have a hard time discerning Jim from Greg, but they are identical twins after all. You can discern hydrangea from phlox by looking at their leaves.
2. To gain information from someone or something. Her message was so cryptic that I couldn't discern anything from it—do you know what's going on?
See also: discern
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

discern someone or something from something (else)

to detect the difference between someone or something and something else. I can hardly discern Tom from the busy background in this picture. I can't discern anything from that cluttered scene.
See also: discern

discern something from someone or something

to learn or determine something from someone or something. We discerned a lot from the eyewitnesses. We discerned a lot from our discussions with the past president.
See also: discern
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
How far things have evolved can be discerned from an observation by Josef Pickenhahn, vice president, Brake Engineering, TRW Automotive (Livonia, MI; www.trw.com).