dis·​cov·​ery | \ di-ˈskə-v(ə-)rē How to pronounce discovery (audio) \
plural discoveries

Definition of discovery

1a : the act or process of discovering the discovery of a lost city
b(1) archaic : disclosure
(2) obsolete : display
c obsolete : exploration
2 : something discovered
3 : the usually pretrial disclosure of pertinent facts or documents by one or both parties to a legal action or proceeding

Examples of discovery in a Sentence

Scientists announced the discovery of a new species of plant. Her research led to a number of important discoveries about the disease. Reporters made the shocking discovery that the governor had been unfaithful to his wife. the discovery of pollution in the river the discovery of a talented musician sailors during the age of discovery It was one of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine. See More
Recent Examples on the Web After the sheriff posted about the discovery on Wednesday, his office was criticized by several Native Americans, who said publishing photos of ancestral remains was offensive to their culture., 21 May 2022 Holmes's discovery does predate the first reliable blood test in real life by more than a decade, either the Uhlenhuth Test created in 1900 or the Kastle Meyer Test created in 1903. Roy Schwartz, CNN, 20 May 2022 The report featured four photographs, said to have been taken soon after the statue’s discovery, that when compared to the statue — down to broken and missing pieces including part of a foot — appeared to be a match. New York Times, 20 May 2022 Pasithea Clinics is a subsidiary of Pasithea Therapeutics, a U.S. biotechnology company focused on the research and discovery of new compounds for psychiatric and neurological disorders. Kathleen Frazier, Variety, 20 May 2022 Proctor’s order, issued May 10, sets other deadlines in the case over the next two years, such as when reports from experts must be filed and when discovery in the case closes. Mike Cason |, al, 19 May 2022 The discovery forced Metro to pull 72 operators who were most delinquent, creating a staffing shortage that increased wait times. Justin George, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 The populations of at least 14 states were miscounted in the 2020 Census, a report released Thursday by the Census Bureau found, but the discovery will have no impact on the ongoing redistricting process. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Following that first discovery, additional finds, such as the ancient tooth, have helped scientists learn more about the Denisovan people. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 19 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discovery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of discovery

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for discovery

Time Traveler

The first known use of discovery was in 1529

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Dictionary Entries Near discovery



discovery bond

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Statistics for discovery

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Discovery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for discovery


dis·​cov·​ery | \ di-ˈskəv-ə-rē How to pronounce discovery (audio) , -ˈskəv-rē \
plural discoveries

Kids Definition of discovery

1 : an act of finding out or learning of for the first time Experiments led to their discovery of the cure.
2 : something found or learned of for the first time a recent discovery


plural discoveries

Legal Definition of discovery

1 : the act or process of discovering
2 : something discovered applied for a patent for the discovery
3a : the methods used by parties to a civil or criminal action to obtain information held by the other party that is relevant to the action — see also deposition, interrogatory, request for production
b : the disclosure of information held by the opposing party in an action a party need not provide discovery of electronically stored information…not reasonably accessibleFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 26(b)(2)(B) — see also privilege, work product doctrine

Note: Discovery allowed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 is far-reaching. With some exceptions, a party may obtain discovery of any relevant information as long as it is not privileged, including information that itself would not be admissible at trial but that is likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Criminal discovery, however, has been more controversial. Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16, a defendant may obtain discovery of his or her own written or recorded statements or confessions, results of examinations and tests, his or her recorded testimony before a grand jury, and testimony to be given by the prosecution's expert witnesses. A defendant may also inspect the prosecution's books, documents, photographs, objects, and other items of evidence. Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.1, the prosecution must also disclose the names of witnesses that will be called to rebut the defendant's alibi defense. The defendant must also permit the prosecution to inspect books, documents, photographs, and objects and must disclose reports of examinations or tests and testimony of expert witnesses.

More from Merriam-Webster on discovery

Nglish: Translation of discovery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discovery for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about discovery


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