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

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

On Wednesday, Cummins’s body was discovered off a walking trail in a wildlife refuge near Warsaw, Va. Washington Post, "City to test emergency alert system Saturday," 22 June 2019 The list was discovered during a search of Cardell’s New State Road home, during which police also found and seized a Ruger Security-9 9mm handgun and four boxes of ammunition. David Owens,, "Matthew Cardell, accused of shooting up a Manchester neighborhood, faces new charges," 21 June 2019 Charles Michael Bodey, assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division’s 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, was discovered by fellow soldiers, the service said in a statement Wednesday. Author: Wyatt Olson, Anchorage Daily News, "20-year-old Fort Wainwright soldier found dead in barracks," 21 June 2019 Back when Coors' Field was under construction, an unidentified fossil was discovered there, too. Erin Davis And Brian Ries, CNN, "Scientists say dinosaur fossils found in Colorado are those of a 68 million years old triceratops," 21 June 2019 Ellerin’s body was discovered the next morning by a friend. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Jurors visit ‘Hollywood Ripper’ murder scene of Bay Area woman dating Ashton Kutcher," 21 June 2019 The bodies of Edward Nathaniel Holmes and his fiancée Cynthia Ann Day were discovered in their hotel room at the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana resort on May 30. Steve Helling,, "Army Vet, 41, Died Suddenly in Dominican Republic in Same Area as Other American Tourists," 21 June 2019 As noted by Gizmodo this morning, this new vulnerability was discovered by security researchers at SafeBreach and disclosed on Monday in a public blog post. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Dell software designed to protect you from vulnerabilities has another vulnerability," 21 June 2019 But, as The Post and Courier reports, everything changed when a list of items purchased for a reunion of old soldiers near Summerville was discovered from 1890—14 years before the World’s Fair. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "This Charming South Carolina Town is Known as The Birthplace of Sweet Tea," 21 June 2019

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

26 Jun 2019

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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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on discover

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with discover

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for discover

Spanish Central: Translation of discover

Nglish: Translation of discover for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discover for Arabic Speakers

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).


to take the place or position of

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