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 The spokesperson says the area of the store where the bugs were discovered has been closed off. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Bed bugs released in dressing room of Pennsylvania Walmart," 6 Jan. 2020 The body of Paighton Houston, 29, was discovered Friday behind a home in Hueytown, which is southwest of Birmingham, the district attorney said. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Alabama woman who texted she might be in trouble found dead," 4 Jan. 2020 Kuhnhausen disappeared June 6 and her remains were discovered in a remote area of Larch Mountain on December 7 by someone gathering bear grass. Erin Donaghue, CBS News, "Advocates blast $750,000 bail for suspect in transgender teen's slaying," 3 Jan. 2020 The case would go cold until 1991, when a hand belonging to the torso was discovered by an 11-year-old girl. Jason Duaine Hahn,, "Headless Torso Found in Idaho Grave ID'd as Outlaw Accused of Murdering His Wife in 1916," 2 Jan. 2020 But there was almost certainly something—a secret antenna was discovered behind a false wall. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How the KGB Bugged American Typewriters During the Cold War," 1 Jan. 2020 Okada died in 1971, unaware that his book had been discovered by a younger generation. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Asian-American Canon Breakers," 30 Dec. 2019 Liquid appears to have been seeping in increasing amounts from an I-696 retaining wall for several years in the same Madison Heights location where a green chemical was discovered oozing out Dec. 20, a review of Google maps by the Free Press shows. Steve Pepple, Detroit Free Press, "Photos show I-696 green ooze site may have been leaking since at least 2016," 30 Dec. 2019 What Houstonians don't need to imagine is the flurry of activity local authorities went into when it was discovered that Tom Terrific's jersey had been pinched. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "The theft of Tom Brady's jersey after Super Bowl LI in Houston has been turned into a documentary," 26 Dec. 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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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

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discover.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 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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