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

According to a statement from the Supreme Court, doctors discovered her cancerous nodes while undergoing routine care for her injury. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Voted on Trump's Asylum Reform From Her Hospital Bed," 23 Dec. 2018 What started as a double nursery project soon expanded when Berry discovered a small, unused room on the lower level of the couple’s Los Angeles home, right outside the pool. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "Gray Malin Reveals His Twins' Beachy-Luxe Playroom," 26 Nov. 2018 Barbara was born and raised in Hungary before she was discovered in 2006. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Who is Barbara Palvin? Everything You Need to Know About Dylan Sprouse’s Girlfriend," 14 Nov. 2018 She was discovered to have 16 fractured ribs, liver and spleen lacerations, a brain bleed and facial bruising, according to the suit. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Washington state pays $19 million to settle abuse case that left child paralyzed and blind," 26 Oct. 2018 The short version: She was discovered while working as a bartender in New York, went on three auditions, booked all three gigs, and immediately got the attention of Steven Spielberg. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Ellen Pompeo Talks 'Grey's Anatomy' and Gender Equality at Marie Claire's 2018 Power Trip," 16 Oct. 2018 Jin, the oldest member of the group at 25, was actually at school studying to be an actor when he was discovered by BigHit Entertainment, according to Billboard. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Why BTS Is a Bigger Deal Than Many 'America's Got Talent' Fans Realize," 13 Sep. 2018 This was the case in Texas, where after its shocking maternal mortality rate made headlines in 2016, it was discovered that erroneous data collection led to misidentifying more than half of these deaths as pregnancy-related. Olivia Campbell, SELF, "How California Cut Its Maternal Death Rate in Half," 9 Aug. 2018 CrowdStrike, which was called in to investigate the Russian government’s 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, had already been retained by the NRCC when the intrusion was discovered in April, Politico said. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Thousands of sensitive emails stolen in intrusion of Republican campaign arm," 4 Dec. 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

9 Jan 2019

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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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

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