dis·cov·er | \ di-ˈskə-vər \
discovered; discovering\-ˈskə-v(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of discover 

transitive verb

1a : to make known or visible : expose discovering himself … as her adoring and magnanimous lover —T. L. Peacock

b archaic : display

2a : 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

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Other words from discover

discoverable \-ˈkə-v(ə-)rə-bəl \ adjective
discoverer \-ər-ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of discover in a Sentence

Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492. Several new species of plants have recently been discovered. It took her several weeks to discover the solution. The tests have discovered problems in the current design. She soon discovered what had been going on.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Havre de Grace Elementary teacher Dennison receives prestigious fellowship," 22 June 2018 Using lab tools to activate that reward circuit in mice, scientists discovered that its chemical signals reach the immune system, empowering a subset of bone marrow cells to slow the growth of tumors. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 Things went from bad, to worse, to only-in-Florida for a burglary suspect in Orange County early Sunday, when deputies discovered a baby alligator in the back seat of his getaway car, an arrest affidavit said. Jeff Weiner,, "While towing suspected burglar's car, deputies make a back-seat discovery: a baby alligator," 9 July 2018 In a study, officials discovered that 250 homeless people cost the city and county more than $11 million in 2015-16 in jail stays, ambulance rides, emergency police response and use of behavioral services such as mental health treatment. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "This man cost Sacramento County more in one year than any other homeless person," 8 July 2018 The engineers soon discovered that the errors were the result of ads that somehow were injected into user traffic. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Rash of Fortnite cheaters infected by malware that breaks HTTPS encryption," 3 July 2018 When employers discovered that the gender expression of the person didn’t match their birth name, the result was usually discrimination in hiring. Alice Driver, Longreads, "The Road to Asylum," 30 June 2018 Koessel discovered this only when a previous owner pointed out the signature in the corner of the mural in the house. David North, Chicago Reader, "Architecture / Crime / Arts Historic home destroyed in fire; ex-owner furious at county for home’s demise," 28 June 2018 Another beauty tool that Rio discovered on the internet, this at-home facial steamer helps to hydrate skin while clarifying complexion and detoxifying skin. The Editors, The Strategist, "There Are So Many Things We Love on Sale at Dermstore Right Now," 28 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of discover

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for discover

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

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Statistics for discover

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discover

The first known use of discover was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for discover



English Language Learners Definition of discover

: 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)


dis·cov·er | \ di-ˈskə-vər \
discovered; discovering

Kids Definition of discover

: 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.

Other words from discover

discoverer noun


transitive verb

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

2a : to make the subject of discovery

b : to learn of or obtain (information) through discovery

Other words from discover

discoverable adjective

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Comments on discover

What made you want to look up discover? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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