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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

On Wednesday, April 17 — already a big day for music news with the release of Beyoncé's Netflix doc Homecoming — Shawn dropped his bombshell of a discovery on Twitter that boba is, in fact, an instrument in two perfect video tweets. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Producer Shawn Wasabi Turned His Bubble Tea Bobas Into a Viral Beat," 18 Apr. 2019 These are joyful discoveries to be made in middle-age. Rachel Kramer Bussel, SELF, "I Suddenly Stopped Being Kinky and I’m Not Sure Why," 1 Mar. 2019 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 1:50 While walking in the woods, 911 caller made a gruesome discoveryAdvertisement A 911 caller reported finding a body burning in the woods off of 18th Street East in Bradenton on April 2, 2018. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "Missing man's body found charred in Texas apartment — and cryptic images on his car," 21 June 2018 The other and more significant patent, applied for in 2015 but based on a 2012 discovery, will be granted next week. Sharon Begley, STAT, "The University of California will finally be granted a key CRISPR patent," 13 June 2018 Crews fixing a hole on an Oviedo road unearthed a historical discovery this week, according to a report from WKMG. The Web Staff,, "Crews discover 100-year-old brick road while repairing Oviedo street: report," 8 June 2018 Almost a year after a North Carolina man blamed drinking too much cough medicine for stabbing his wife to death, a chilling discovery about the alleged killer is made. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Houston serial killer Danny Bible's lawyers say he is too sick to execute, predict botched procedure," 8 June 2018 President Trump has tweeted out a spectacular new discovery in the Deep State conspiracy against him. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Latest FBI Conspiracy Theory Is His Craziest Yet," 5 June 2018 Twitter user earthifulmama discovered the insane product by HydraPeak at her local TJ Maxx, and thankfully shared her discovery with the rest of the internet. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "TJ Maxx is Selling Gigantic Water Bottles That Can Hold 2.5 Bottles of Wine," 8 Apr. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of discovery

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for discovery

Last Updated

2 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discovery

The first known use of discovery was in 1529

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More Definitions for discovery



English Language Learners Definition of discovery

: the act of finding or learning something for the first time : the act of discovering something
: something seen or learned for the first time : something discovered


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.

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Comments on discovery

What made you want to look up discovery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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