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discern
used in Moby Dick

10 uses
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Definition
to notice or understand something — often something that is not obvious
  • Indeed, his spout is so small that it is not very readily discernible.
    Chapters 31-33 — Queen Mab; Cetology; The Specksnyder (77% in)
  • ...is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it.
    Chapters 34-36 — The Cabin-Table; The Mast-Head; The Qarter-Deck—Ahab and all (61% in)
  • The whales had irregularly settled bodily down into the blue, thus giving no distantly discernible token of the movement, though from his closer vicinity Ahab had observed it.
    Chapters 46-48 — Surmises; The Mat-Maker; The First Lowering (60% in)
  • There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.
    Chapters 49-51 — The Hyena; Ahab's Boat and Crew - Fedallah; The Spirit-Spout (1% in)
  • But strangest of all is the circumstance, that in more instances than one, when the body has been recovered, not a single mark of violence is discernible; the man being stark dead.
    Chapters 70-72 — The Sphynx; The Jeroboam's Story; The Monkey-Rope (54% in)
  • Still, in that famous work of his, Lavater not only treats of the various faces of men, but also attentively studies the faces of horses, birds, serpents, and fish; and dwells in detail upon the modifications of expression discernible therein.
    Chapters 79-81 — The Prairie; The Nut; The Pequod Meets the Virgin (2% in)
  • Yet so vast is the quantity of blood in him, and so distant and numerous its interior fountains, that he will keep thus bleeding and bleeding for a considerable period; even as in a drought a river will flow, whose source is in the well-springs of far-off and undiscernible hills.
    Chapters 79-81 — The Prairie; The Nut; The Pequod Meets the Virgin (76% in)
  • For nothing was this man more remarkable, than for a certain impersonal stolidity as it were; impersonal, I say; for it so shaded off into the surrounding infinite of things, that it seemed one with the general stolidity discernible in the whole visible world; which while pauselessly active in uncounted modes, still eternally holds its peace, and ignores you, though you dig foundations for cathedrals.
    Chapters 106-108 — Ahab's Leg; The Carpenter; Ahab and the Carpenter (44% in)
  • Because in such a wilderness of running rigging, whose various different relations aloft cannot always be infallibly discerned by what is seen of them at the deck; and when the deck-ends of these ropes are being every few minutes cast down from the fastenings, it would be but a natural fatality, if, unprovided with a constant watchman, the hoisted sailor should by some carelessness of the crew be cast adrift and fall all swooping to the sea.
    Chapters 130-132 — The Hat; The Pequod meets the Delight; The Symphony (34% in)
  • Ahab's hat was never restored; the wild hawk flew on and on with it; far in advance of the prow: and at last disappeared; while from the point of that disappearance, a minute black spot was dimly discerned, falling from that vast height into the sea.
    Chapters 130-132 — The Hat; The Pequod meets the Delight; The Symphony (45% in)

There are no more uses of "discern" in Moby Dick.

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