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 Many in the community questioned the city’s decision to allow the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to operate for 14 days before shuttering the event March 11 after discovering a coronavirus case originated there. Zach Despar And Jasper Scherer, Houston Chronicle, "New York, LA, Chicago order bars, restaurants to close. Is Houston next?," 16 Mar. 2020 In other news, there were some small mercies in the security world this week as the certificate authority Let’s Encrypt engineered a massive course-correction after discovering a bug that could have broken millions of websites across the web. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Security News This Week: Elite Hackers Are Using Coronavirus Emails to Set Traps," 14 Mar. 2020 The disinformation operation — discovered in its early stages — also sought to sow divisions among a then-packed Democratic primary field. Craig Timberg, Washington Post, "Facebook, Twitter suspend Russian-linked operation targeting African Americans on social media," 12 Mar. 2020 The first case discovered in the US came weeks later, on Jan. 20, in Washington. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "China is taking pleasure in US mishandling of coronavirus," 5 Mar. 2020 After discovering that peasants turned to cannibalism during the Russian famine in the 1920s, he was spurred on to avoid a similar situation. The Economist, "Preppers For some Britons, coronavirus means apocalypse soon," 5 Mar. 2020 Sometimes the prince drowns after discovering his error. Elizabeth Barber, The New Yorker, "A “Swan Lake” Star Drinks Hot Water in Sinatra’s Old Haunt," 2 Mar. 2020 The mammoth asteroid, discovered in 1891, would make quite a mess of America’s largest metropolis. oregonlive, "What if a big asteroid hit New York City? A 3-D animation shows us what we should really worry about," 27 Feb. 2020 Miller previously sued Dennard and four other members of council for violating Ohio's Open Meeting Act after discovering the group texted with each other about city business. Sharon Coolidge,, "5 ask court to oust Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard," 27 Feb. 2020

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

19 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discover.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for discover


How to pronounce discover (audio)

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

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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