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

Researchers discovered starch granules in the tooth plaque of some of the foragers. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 Sarofim discovered that, in addition to past celebrity residents like Groucho Marx and Prince, his new neighbors include Bernard Arnault, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Kelly Wearstler. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Tour an Iconic Beverly Hills Home that Mixes Antique Accents with a Contemporary Cool," 24 Oct. 2018 This clever take on The Omen stars Adam Scott as a newlywed who discovers his new stepson might be the antichrist. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 28 Best Halloween Movies on Netflix," 11 Oct. 2018 In addition, reporters discovered high levels of lead dust on rowhouse stoops, near construction sites, and at neighborhood playgrounds. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Booming postindustrial neighborhoods often overlook polluted past," 9 Oct. 2018 Interest in the film, which is about a country singer who discovers (and falls in love with) a young new talent as his career is waning, has only been growing, as shooting has taken place at events like Coachella. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Lady Gaga Looked Like a Giant, Beautiful Stick of Cotton Candy at the Venice Film Festival," 1 Sep. 2018 Based on the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet (which itself was based on E.T.A Hoffmann’s original fairy tale), the film stars Mackenzie Foy as Clara, the central heroine who discovers a parallel world created by her late mother. Dan Barna, Teen Vogue, "The New Trailer for "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" Is a Stunning Holiday Dream," 8 Aug. 2018 At least that’s what Prudi Koeninger of the Dallas-Fort Worth Wildlife Coalition told a woman who discovered a mother bobcat and her cubs living in their backyard. Aditi Shrikant,, "When wild animals urbanize," 13 July 2018 Police said Miguel Glorioso, 20, and Jamie Coutee, 19, were identified by an employee who discovered them in a fifth-floor stairwell. Fernando Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Louisiana cops arrest inmate and teen who were allegedly having sex in courthouse," 13 July 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

13 Nov 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

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by force of circumstances

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