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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for descry
Historical Examples
  • The girl even thought to descry in it her own name, and to both it came as a very voice from Heaven.

    A Secret of the Lebombo Bertram Mitford
  • If only she could descry something plain to tell her husband!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Tristram thought this odd, for it was impossible at that distance to descry the features of the riders.

    The Blue Pavilions Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • And can you descry no difference between his letters and those addressed to other people?'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • Moreover, he was not so unreasonable as to descry insupportable hardships in this parting.

    At Last Marion Harland
  • Bolko could descry the figure of Auriola at the margin of the spring.

  • Far to the north he could descry Spurling, plodding desperately on across the thawing ice.

    Murder Point Coningsby Dawson
  • There was hardly a spot of him where you could not descry some sign of a bone underneath.

  • And Forbes could descry the muffled outlines of fingers clutching the heavy fabric.

    What Will People Say? Rupert Hughes
  • With the aid of these lights we may descry some general features of the Romantic Bohemian.

    Vie de Bohme Orlo Williams
British Dictionary definitions for descry


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 descry

"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.)).


"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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