dis·​cov·​er | \ di-ˈskə-vər How to pronounce discover (audio) \
discovered; discovering\ di-​ˈskə-​v(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce discover (audio) \

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 \ di-​ˈskə-​v(ə-​)rə-​bəl How to pronounce discover (audio) \ adjective
discoverer \ di-​ˈskə-​vər-​ər How to pronounce discover (audio) \ 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

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 Participants will discover a different forest preserve each day, officials said. Beacon-news Staff,, "Kane County Forest District offering summer camps for children," 25 Apr. 2021 Fifth-grade students of Baltimore County Public Schools have helped discover some rare organisms, and recently had their discoveries verified as the first of their kind in the county. Cameron Goodnight,, "Baltimore County students make scientific discoveries during BioBlitz, identifying 3 species not previously identified in area," 22 Apr. 2021 People will also soon be able to listen to and discover new podcasts directly on the Facebook app. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Why copper and lithium could be 'the new oil'," 20 Apr. 2021 Facebook will also add a space to play and discover podcasts directly from its main app. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "Mark Zuckerberg Wants You to Talk," 19 Apr. 2021 The legislation intends to deter doxxing with a promise of punishment if a police agency can investigate and discover who has tried to use officers’ personal information against them. Bob Pepalis, Washington Examiner, "Why one police chief backs anti-doxxing legislation in Missouri," 19 Apr. 2021 Do some real research and discover why after all these years of debt accumulation our roads, bridges, sewage, and drinking water systems are still all disintegrating. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Do some real research | Access to resources | It's blatant hypocrisy," 17 Apr. 2021 Listen, read, and learn from fat activists, body liberation organizers, and allied scientists to understand their experiences and discover what needs to change. Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Thin Privilege?," 15 Apr. 2021 Fans of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel (which the show is based on) will already know, but everyone else can discover the answer as Cora Randall (Thuso Mbedu) stumbles upon a locomotive network hidden beneath Southern soil. Zoe Haylock, Vulture, "The Underground Railroad Trailer: All Aboard Barry Jenkins’s Long-Awaited Series," 15 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for discover

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for discover

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discover.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce discover (audio) \
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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