un·​earth ˌən-ˈərth How to pronounce unearth (audio)
unearthed; unearthing; unearths

transitive verb

: to dig up out of or as if out of the earth : exhume
unearth treasure
unearth an old photo album
: to make known or public : bring to light
unearth a scandal
Choose the Right Synonym for unearth

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 unearth in a Sentence

An old document was unearthed from the files. They unearthed evidence that he had accepted bribes.
Recent Examples on the Web Here, on the shores of Kuskokwim Bay, is the richest record of Yup’ik life prior to contact with Russian sailors yet unearthed for study and preservation. Zachariah Hughes, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Sep. 2023 And so far, Republicans have unearthed no significant evidence of wrongdoing by the elder Biden, who spoke often to his son as vice president and did stop by a business dinner with his son’s associates. Colleen Long and Emily Swanson, Chicago Tribune, 14 Sep. 2023 The hack unearthed very personal information, including the staff's performance reviews from corporate. Dory Jackson, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 Speaker Kevin McCarthy said House committees would open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden, ramping up GOP efforts to unearth any evidence of wrongdoing ahead of the 2024 election. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, 12 Sep. 2023 Though these probes have yet to unearth any wrongdoing on the part of the president, lawmakers have pressed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) to expand them. Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2023 In the world of cosmetics, there’s always a handful of new beauty products to unearth. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 30 Aug. 2023 With little proof ever unearthed to answer either question, that has left a limitless array of theories. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 5 Sep. 2023 The documents were unearthed by the non-profit Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which counts billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations among its financial backers, and its research was shared with mediaincluding The Guardian and the Financial Times. Mark Thompson, CNN, 1 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unearth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unearth was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near unearth

Cite this Entry

“Unearth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unearth. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


un·​earth ˌən-ˈərth How to pronounce unearth (audio)
: to drive or draw from the earth : dig up
unearth buried treasure
: to bring to light : discover
unearth a secret

More from Merriam-Webster on unearth

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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