noun dis·cov·ery \ di-ˈskə-v(ə-)rē \
|Updated on: 8 Aug 2018

Definition of discovery

plural discoveries
1 a : 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

  1. Scientists announced the discovery of a new species of plant.

  2. Her research led to a number of important discoveries about the disease.

  3. Reporters made the shocking discovery that the governor had been unfaithful to his wife.

  4. the discovery of pollution in the river

  5. the discovery of a talented musician

  6. sailors during the age of discovery

  7. It was one of the most important discoveries in the history of medicine.

Recent Examples of discovery from the Web

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


in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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DISCOVERY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of discovery for English Language Learners

  • : 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

DISCOVERY Defined for Kids


noun dis·cov·ery \ di-ˈskəv-ə-rē , -ˈskəv-rē \

Definition of discovery for Students

plural discoveries
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

Law Dictionary


noun dis·cov·ery

legal Definition of discovery

plural discoveries
1 : the act or process of discovering
2 : something discovered
  • applied for a patent for the discovery
3 a : 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 accessible
  • Federal 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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