dis·cov·er | \di-ˈskə-vər \
discovered; discovering\-ˈskə-v(ə-)riŋ \

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 \-ˈkə-v(ə-)rə-bəl \ adjective
discoverer \-ər-ər \ 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

Getting at France's goal means getting past Kante first and — as Lionel Messi, Kevin de Bruyne and others discovered — that is tough. John Leicester,, "Five reasons why France will win the World Cup final," 14 July 2018 Designed by Kawakubo, it was located in an old Con Ed building Benson discovered on the same block as the Leo Castelli and Mary Boone Galleries. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Dianne Benson, A Maverick Retailer in 1980s New York, Talks Fashion, Art, and Collaborators Like David Wojnarowicz and Cindy Sherman," 13 July 2018 October 2016: Berger's Bakery was shut down for two days after inspectors discovered a roach infestation at the stand. Todd Stewart,, "Lexington Market: Health Department closures since 2012," 13 July 2018 Read Cindy's full statement, issued Thursday, to The Arizona Republic: Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the surgery that discovered my husband had a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "A year after John McCain's cancer diagnosis, Cindy McCain expresses gratitude to caregivers," 13 July 2018 Explore masks from around the world and discover how they are used from expressing emotions to traditional cultural ceremonies. Linda Mcintosh,, "Blue Star families honored," 13 July 2018 Billboard confirmed the report by discovering the artist born Daniel Hernandez in the NYC Department of Corrections Inmate Lookup Service. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "6ix9ine Denied Bail Following NYC Arrest, Deemed Flight Risk," 13 July 2018 All ages — kids & adults — are encouraged to participate, learn and discover. Mary Lou Cruz,, "Boca Raton area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 Illinois reported 90 cases of the intestinal illness so far and Iowa has discovered 15 cases. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "More Than 100 People Ill From Parasite Possibly Linked to McDonald's Salads," 13 July 2018

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

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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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