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descry

play
verb de·scry \ di-ˈskrī \

Definition of descry

descried; descrying
transitive verb
1 a :to catch sight of
  • I descried a sail
  • —Jonathan Swift
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

descry Synonyms

Synonyms
ascertain, find, detect, determine, dig out, dig up, discover, dredge (up), ferret (out), find out, get, hit (on or upon), hunt (down or up), learn, locate, nose out, root (out), rout (out), rummage, run down, scare up, scout (up), track (down), turn up
Antonyms
miss, overlook, pass over
Related Words
espy, sight, spot; look for, search (for or out), seek
Near Antonyms
lose, mislay, misplace, misset

2

descry

noun

Definition of descry

obsolete
:discovery or view from afar

First Known Use of descry

1604



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