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 Instead, said attorney Mawuli Davis, who represents Williams’ family, more than an hour elapsed between the shooting and the discovery of his body. Christian Boone, ajc, "Lawyer for family of DeKalb man shot by cops: ‘They left him to die’," 26 Apr. 2021 The discovery of the DNH 155 cranium effectively provides us with a narrow but high-resolution snapshot of the small-scale microevolutionary changes that occurred between different, sequential populations. Jesse Martin, Scientific American, "How 3D Scanning is Reinventing Paleoanthropology," 25 Apr. 2021 The news was bittersweet for Liu, whose discovery of those burial ledgers in 2004 was the turning point for stopping the sale of Block 14. oregonlive, "They were paved over and forgotten for decades. Now a cemetery garden will honor Chinese workers buried in SE Portland," 25 Apr. 2021 The discovery of the body of a young woman in a south Minneapolis residence has now become a homicide investigation, police said Saturday. Libor Jany, Star Tribune, "Woman's death is Minneapolis' 23rd homicide of 2021," 24 Apr. 2021 The county shut down the campuses of Weaverville Elementary and Trinity High School in summer 2019 after the discovery of toxic black mold and asbestos. Los Angeles Times, "COVID canceled their football season. So a rural California school did homecoming their way," 23 Apr. 2021 Following the discovery, WFSB spoke to one of the family members — only identified as Karen — who said she was relieved to finally have an answer about the money mystery. Joelle Goldstein,, "Treasure Hunter Helps Mass. Family Find $46K That Was Hidden Under Their Home’s Floorboards," 22 Apr. 2021 On Tuesday, Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford announced the discovery of the Tubman connection at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Archeologists discover site that was once home of Harriet Tubman's father," 21 Apr. 2021 This finding is based on the discovery of a handful of tyrannosaur skeletons found in the same location in a lakebed where the animals are presumed to have drowned. Mike Wehner, BGR, "Tyrannosaurs hunted in packs, making them even more terrifying," 20 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for discovery

Time Traveler

The first known use of discovery was in 1529

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Statistics for discovery

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discovery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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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