How does the verb unearth contrast with its synonyms?
Some common synonyms of unearth are ascertain, determine, discover, and learn. While all these words mean "to find out what one did not previously know," unearth implies bringing to light something forgotten or hidden.
unearth old records
When is ascertain a more appropriate choice than unearth?
The words ascertain and unearth are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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
When can determine be used instead of unearth?
While the synonyms determine and unearth are close in meaning, determine emphasizes the intent to establish the facts definitely or precisely.
unable to determine the origin of the word
When might discover be a better fit than unearth?
Although the words discover and unearth have much in common, discover may apply to something requiring exploration or investigation or to a chance encounter.
discovered the source of the river
When would learn be a good substitute for unearth?
While in some cases nearly identical to unearth, learn may imply acquiring knowledge with little effort or conscious intention (as by simply being told) or it may imply study and practice.