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 Doudna and Charpentier didn’t discover the CRISPR system in bacteria; that can be attributed to many scientists working in relative obscurity for decades, as Isaacson also illustrates. Natalie De Souza, The New York Review of Books, "Editing Humanity’s Future," 13 Apr. 2021 Jason Momoa executive produced this new documentary, which follows a group of adolescents who discover that they were conceived from the same sperm donor. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch this Weekend: Shameless series finale brings the Gallagher family saga to an end," 9 Apr. 2021 Read on to discover the top 10 products among T+L readers in March of 2021. Kendall Cornish, Travel + Leisure, "The 10 Products T+L Readers Loved Most in March 2021," 2 Apr. 2021 The novel is about a distant future in which humans discover a gate in space. Noah Berlatsky, Los Angeles Times, "Review: In the beautiful gross-out sci-fi novel ‘Skyward Inn,’ we are all aliens," 16 Mar. 2021 In other cases, nurses and other health care workers who venture into homes will discover urgent health problems that can prolong the visits, providers say. Chris Serres, Star Tribune, "Minnesota agencies launch efforts to vaccinate homebound seniors," 15 Mar. 2021 Also odd was what Nick would later discover in Steve's upstairs bedroom. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "S.C. nurse who fatally poisoned husband with eye drops: "I just wanted him to suffer"," 13 Mar. 2021 Parker Queenan, Malia Baker, Beatrice Kitsos, Arjun Athalye and Bryce Gheisar star as the new Midnight Society, a group of teens who discover the terrifying curse cast over their small seaside town and face a mysterious creature: the Shadowman. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, "The Cast of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Plays a Game of "Post it or Ghost it?"," 4 Mar. 2021 This tax hike on the sly is estimated to raise an additional £18 billion starting next year from beleaguered households who discover inflation pushing them into higher brackets. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Britain Pays for Covid—and Pays, and Pays," 3 Mar. 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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discover.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 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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