- to discover or catch (a person) in the performance of some act: to detect someone cheating.
- to discover the existence of: to detect the odor of gas.
- to find out the true character or activity of: to detect a spy.
- to rectify alternating signal currents in a radio receiver.
- to demodulate.
Origin of detect
1400–50; late Middle English < Latin dētēctus (past participle of dētegere), equivalent to dē- de- + teg(ere) to cover + -tus past participle suffix
2. See learn.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for detect
No one who lives in an American city requires a flashlight to detect the presence of immigrants or the challenges they face daily.The 2014 Novel of the Year
December 29, 2014
Testing methods can now detect HIV within ten days of infection.The Outrageous Celibacy Requirement for Gay Blood Donors
November 22, 2014
The company is already brainstorming what it can detect next.The Gluten Detecting Device You’ll Want to Own
October 10, 2014
There is only one approved, working test that can detect whether or not Ebola is present in the blood.This New Ebola Test Is As Easy As a Pregnancy Test, So Why Aren’t We Using It?
October 3, 2014
Without the beeps and whirs of a cellphone, you can use your ears to detect crickets, mice, or other vermin in your home.Aubrey Plaza’s Great Disconnect
August 15, 2014
In more than one case, we seem to detect an actual portrait.De Libris: Prose and Verse
How often, my dear, have you and I endeavoured to detect and censure this partial spirit in others?Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
He could detect a design upon it when nobody else had any perception of the fact.Little Dorrit
The eye could not detect one creature in the group free from the smear of blood.
The spy had kept his eyes open, but had been able to detect no sign.
- to perceive or noticeto detect a note of sarcasm
- to discover the existence or presence of (esp something likely to elude observation)to detect alcohol in the blood
- to extract information from (an electromagnetic wave)
- obsolete to reveal or expose (a crime, criminal, etc)
C15: from Latin dētectus uncovered, from dētegere to uncover, from de- + tegere to cover
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
Word Origin and History for detect
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper