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[dih-skrahy] /dɪˈskraɪ/
verb (used with object), descried, descrying.
to see (something unclear or distant) by looking carefully; discern; espy:
The lookout descried land.
to discover; perceive; detect.
Origin of descry
1250-1300; Middle English descrien < Old French de(s)crïer to proclaim, decry. See dis-1, cry
Related forms
descrier, noun
undescried, adjective
undescrying, adjective
Can be confused
decry, descry (see synonym study at decry)
1. notice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for descried
Historical Examples
  • Now a signal could be descried from the "Siren's" mast-head.

  • As he passed out of the building he descried the boys at play on the lawn.

    In School and Out Oliver Optic
  • The breast of an engine was descried, and a long train curving after it, under a flight of smoke.

    Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
  • What I had descried had quite belied my expectation, and had been totally unforeseen.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • What a meeting it will be with these relations and friends, when they are descried on the hills of Mendi!

  • Lucile was just about in despair when, at the far end of the platform, she descried her.

    Lucile Triumphant Elizabeth M. Duffield
  • Presently, from the depths of a huge four-poster bed, she descried a pair of keen eyes--the face of Mrs. Harrington.

    The Grey Lady Henry Seton Merriman
  • But the pamphlet-seller had descried a possible customer, and was gone.

    The Convert Elizabeth Robins
  • One of these Bert descried in the distance, and, putting on more power, he neared it rapidly.

  • Soon the lights on the South Foreland were descried and passed in safety.

    The Lifeboat R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for descried


verb (transitive) -scries, -scrying, -scried
to discern or make out; catch sight of
to discover by looking carefully; detect
Derived Forms
descrier, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French descrier to proclaim, decry
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for descried



"to see, discern," c.1300, probably from Old French descrier "publish" (Modern French décrier), from Latin describere (see describe).

"to proclaim," mid-14c., from Old French descrier, from des- (see dis-) + crier, from Latin quiritare (see cry (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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