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1

descry

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verb de·scry \di-ˈskrī\

Definition of descry

descried

descrying

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to catch sight of <I descried a sail — Jonathan Swift> b :  find out, discover

  3. 2 obsolete :  to make known :  reveal



Examples of descry in a sentence

  1. <we couldn't descry the reasons for his sudden departure>

  2. <could just descry the ship coming over the horizon>



Did You Know?

With descry and the more common decry ("to express strong disapproval of"), we have a case of linguistic double-dipping. That is, English borrowed from the same French root twice. Both words ultimately come from the Old French verb decrier, meaning "to proclaim" or "to decry." English speakers borrowed the term as descry in the 14th century and used it to mean "to proclaim" or "to spy out from a distance" (as a watchman might) and eventually simply "to catch sight of" or "discover." Meanwhile, in French, descrier itself developed into the modern French décrier ("to disparage, to decry"). English speakers borrowed this word as decry in the 17th century. Be careful not to confuse descry and decry. They may be close relatives, but in modern English they have distinct meanings.

Origin and Etymology of descry

Middle English descrien to proclaim, reveal, from Anglo-French *descrier, alteration of Old French decrier — more at decry


First Known Use: 14th century


2

descry

noun de·scry

Definition of descry

obsolete

  1. :  discovery or view from afar



1605

First Known Use of descry

1605


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