verb dis·cov·er \ di-ˈskə-vər \
|Updated on: 10 Jul 2018

Definition of discover

discovered; discovering play \-ˈskə-v(ə-)riŋ\
1 a : to make known or visible : expose
  • discovering himself … as her adoring and magnanimous lover
  • —T. L. Peacock
b archaic : display
2 a : to obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time : find
  • discover the solution
  • discovered a new Italian restaurant
b : find out
  • discovered he was out of gas


play \-ˈkə-v(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective


play \-ər-ər\ noun

Examples of discover in a Sentence

  1. Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492.

  2. Several new species of plants have recently been discovered.

  3. It took her several weeks to discover the solution.

  4. The tests have discovered problems in the current design.

  5. She soon discovered what had been going on.

Recent Examples of discover from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of discover

Middle English, from Anglo-French descoverir, descovrir, from Late Latin discooperire, from Latin dis- + cooperire to cover — more at cover

Synonym Discussion of discover

discover, ascertain, determine, unearth, learn mean to find out what one did not previously know. discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter.
    • discovered the source of the river
ascertain implies effort to find the facts or the truth proceeding from awareness of ignorance or uncertainty.
    • attempts to ascertain the population of the region
determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely.
    • unable to determine the origin of the word
unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden.
    • unearth old records
learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice.
    • I learned her name only today
    • learning Greek

DISCOVER Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of discover for English Language Learners

  • : to see, find, or become aware of (something) for the first time

  • : to show the presence of (something hidden or difficult to see) : to make (something) known

  • : to learn or find out (something surprising or unexpected)

DISCOVER Defined for Kids


verb dis·cov·er \ di-ˈskə-vər \

Definition of discover for Students

discovered; discovering
: to find out, see, or learn of especially for the first time : find
  • Scientists have discovered a new species.
  • She discovered a hole in her shirt.



Law Dictionary


transitive verb dis·cov·er

legal Definition of discover

1 : to find out about, recognize, or realize for the first time
  • when the victim discovers the fraud
— see also discovery rule
2 a : to make the subject of discovery
b : to learn of or obtain (information) through discovery



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