detect

verb de·tect \ di-ˈtekt , dē- \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of detect

transitive verb
1 : to discover the true character of
  • detecting drug smugglers
2 : to discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
  • detect alcohol in the blood
  • Do I detect a note of sarcasm in your voice?
intransitive verb
: to work as a detective

detectability

play \-ˌtek-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

detectable

play \-ˈtek-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of detect in a Sentence

  1. The test is used to detect the presence of alcohol in the blood.

  2. This type of cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages.

Recent Examples of detect from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of detect

Middle English, from Latin detectus, past participle of detegere to uncover, detect, from de- + tegere to cover — more at thatch

detect Synonyms

Synonyms
ascertain, descry, find, 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

DETECT Defined for English Language Learners

detect

verb

Definition of detect for English Language Learners

  • : to discover or notice the presence of (something that is hidden or hard to see, hear, taste, etc.)


DETECT Defined for Kids

detect

verb de·tect \ di-ˈtekt \

Definition of detect for Students

detected; detecting
: to learn that something or someone is or was there
  • detect smoke

detector

\-ˈtek-tər\ noun


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