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 Ramsay took the journey to Mexico to discover the culinary secrets of the country’s legendary Oaxaca region, where mole reigns supreme. Jim Dobson, Forbes, "Gordon Ramsay Takes An ‘Uncharted’ Culinary Adventure Around The World," 8 May 2021 The officer arrived at the intersection of Hurley and Sciarappa streets to discover the young male cat had already died., "Cambridge police seeks the public’s help after cat found bound and shot to death," 8 May 2021 Ahead, scroll through to discover even more awesome price cuts available on new goods for spring at Coach Outlet. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Coach Outlet is having a huge sale on new spring bags and more," 8 May 2021 Founded by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza, and Anne Wojcicki, this DNA test will give curious moms and wanderlusters both helpful personal health information and a direction to go on their next trip, possibly to discover more of their ancestry. Kendall Cornish, Travel + Leisure, "14 Last-minute Mother’s Day Gifts From Brands Started by Moms," 6 May 2021 After Titanic, Ballard went on to discover the remains of John F. Kennedy's World War II patrol boat, the German battleship Bismarck, and a number of ancient ships in the Black Sea. Tamara Hardingham-gill, CNN, "The man who found the Titanic is on a new quest," 6 May 2021 After the honeymoon, the couple returned to Manhattan to discover Franklin's mother had rented and furnished their first house. Jacqueline Cutler, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Eleanor in the Village,' by Jan Jarboe Russell," 3 May 2021 People also look to Frieze to discover art trends and breakout stars. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "Frieze New York Tests Whether Collectors Will Return to Art Fairs," 2 May 2021 From there, at age 19, Harper went on to discover Mississippi John Hurt, one of his chief influences. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, "Dave Grohl’s Van-Touring Doc ‘What Drives Us’: 11 Things We Learned," 30 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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discover.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 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

Comments on discover

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