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used in The Scarlet Letter

17 uses
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to notice or understand something — often something that is not obvious
  • Alas! if he discern such sinfulness in his own white soul, what horrid spectacle would he behold in thine or mine!
    Chapter 11 -- The Interior of a Heart (70% in)
discern = can see
  • More frequently, however, on ascending the steps, you would discern— in the entry if it were summer time, or in their appropriate rooms if wintry or inclement weathers—a row of venerable figures, sitting in old-fashioned chairs, which were tipped on their hind legs back against the wall.
    Introductory (9% in)
  • It was plain enough to discern that the old fellows dreaded some such discourtesy at my hands.
    Introductory (26% in)
  • Nevertheless, looking at the old warrior with affection—for, slight as was the communication between us, my feeling towards him, like that of all bipeds and quadrupeds who knew him, might not improperly be termed so,—I could discern the main points of his portrait.
    Introductory (43% in)
  • It appalled her, nevertheless, to discern here, again, a shadowy reflection of the evil that had existed in herself.
    Chapter 6 -- Pearl (56% in)
  • I, whom you behold in these black garments of the priesthood—I, who ascend the sacred desk, and turn my pale face heavenward, taking upon myself to hold communion in your behalf with the Most High Omniscience—I, in whose daily life you discern the sanctity of Enoch—I, whose footsteps, as you suppose, leave a gleam along my earthly track, whereby the Pilgrims that shall come after me may be guided to the regions of the blest—I, who have laid the hand of baptism upon your children—I,...
    Chapter 11 -- The Interior of a Heart (59% in)
  • At any moment, by an effort of his will, he could discern substances through their misty lack of substance, and convince himself that they were not solid in their nature, like yonder table of carved oak, or that big, square, leather-bound and brazen-clasped volume of divinity.
    Chapter 11 -- The Interior of a Heart (90% in)
  • If the same multitude which had stood as eye-witnesses while Hester Prynne sustained her punishment could now have been summoned forth, they would have discerned no face above the platform nor hardly the outline of a human shape, in the dark grey of the midnight.
    Chapter 12 -- The Minister's Vigil (4% in)
  • Whom would they discern there, with the red eastern light upon his brow?
    Chapter 12 -- The Minister's Vigil (44% in)
  • The minister appeared to see him, with the same glance that discerned the miraculous letter.
    Chapter 12 -- The Minister's Vigil (78% in)
  • She discerns, it may be, such a hopeless task before her.
    Chapter 13 -- Another View of Hester (78% in)
  • Her only justification lay in the fact that she had been able to discern no method of rescuing him from a blacker ruin than had overwhelmed herself except by acquiescing in Roger Chillingworth's scheme of disguise.
    Chapter 13 -- Another View of Hester (93% in)
  • All this while Hester had been looking steadily at the old man, and was shocked, as well as wonder-smitten, to discern what a change had been wrought upon him within the past seven years.
    Chapter 14 -- Hester and the Physician (19% in)
  • He must discern thee in thy true character.
    Chapter 14 -- Hester and the Physician (79% in)
  • —and then look inward, and discern the black reality of what they idolise?
    Chapter 17 -- The Pastor and his Parishioner (25% in)
  • It was to teach them, that the holiest amongst us has but attained so far above his fellows as to discern more clearly the Mercy which looks down, and repudiate more utterly the phantom of human merit, which would look aspiringly upward.
    Chapter 24 -- Conclusion (22% in)
  • All around, there were monuments carved with armorial bearings; and on this simple slab of slate—as the curious investigator may still discern, and perplex himself with the purport—there appeared the semblance of an engraved escutcheon.
    Chapter 24 -- Conclusion (97% in)

There are no more uses of "discern" in The Scarlet Letter.

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