[ dih-skrahy ]
See synonyms for descry on
verb (used with object),de·scried, de·scry·ing.
  1. to see (something unclear or distant) by looking carefully; discern; espy: The lookout descried land.

  2. to discover; ascertain; detect.

Origin of descry

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English descrien, from Old French de(s)crïer “to proclaim, decry”; see dis-1, cry

Other words for descry

Other words from descry

  • de·scri·er, noun
  • un·de·scried, adjective
  • un·de·scry·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with descry Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use descry in a sentence

  • Charles Lamb once, while riding in company with a lady, descried a party denuded for swimming a little way off.

  • But he was wrong, for she descried the novel screen of the old dress which floated round the man's head as a kind of turban.

    Balsamo, The Magician | Alexander Dumas
  • No doubt he descried in the movement a chance for a diversion of the public mind from obnoxious topics.

  • Just as the tug was making in at the village pier, Hal descried the figure of Captain Foster just stepping on to the pier.

  • After about half an hour we heard voices ahead, and descried the shapes of horses and men.

    The Relief of Mafeking | Filson Young

British Dictionary definitions for descry


/ (dɪˈskraɪ) /

verb-scries, -scrying or -scried (tr)
  1. to discern or make out; catch sight of

  2. to discover by looking carefully; detect

Origin of descry

C14: from Old French descrier to proclaim, decry

Derived forms of descry

  • descrier, noun

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