See more synonyms for discover on
verb (used with object)
  1. to see, get knowledge of, learn of, find, or find out; gain sight or knowledge of (something previously unseen or unknown): to discover America; to discover electricity.
  2. to notice or realize: I discovered I didn't have my credit card with me when I went to pay my bill.
  3. Archaic. to make known; reveal; disclose.

Origin of discover

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French discoverir, descovrir, Old French descovrir < Late Latin discooperīre. See dis-1, cover
Related formsdis·cov·er·a·ble, adjectivedis·cov·er·a·bly, adverbnon·dis·cov·er·a·ble, adjectivepre·dis·cov·er, verb (used with object)re·dis·cov·er, verb (used with object)un·dis·cov·er·a·ble, adjectiveun·dis·cov·ered, adjective

Synonym study

1. Discover, invent, originate suggest bringing to light something previously unknown. To discover may be to find something that had previously existed but had hitherto been unknown: to discover a new electricity; it may also refer to devising a new use for something already known: to discover how to make synthetic rubber. To invent is to make or create something new, especially something ingeniously devised to perform mechanical operations: to invent a device for detecting radioactivity. To originate is to begin something new, especially new ideas, methods, etc.: to originate a political movement, the use of assembly-line techniques. See also learn. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of discover

Historical Examples of discover

British Dictionary definitions for discover


verb (tr; may take a clause as object)
  1. to be the first to find or find out aboutFleming discovered penicillin
  2. to learn about or encounter for the first time; realizeshe discovered the pleasures of wine
  3. to find after study or searchI discovered a leak in the tank
  4. to reveal or make known
Derived Formsdiscoverable, adjectivediscoverer, 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

Word Origin and History for discover

c.1300, "divulge, reveal, disclose," from Old French descovrir "uncover, unroof, unveil, reveal, betray," from Late Latin discooperire, from Latin dis- "opposite of" (see dis-) + cooperire "to cover up" (see cover). At first with a sense of betrayal or malicious exposure (discoverer originally meant "informant"); the meaning "to obtain knowledge or sight of what was not known" is from 1550s. Related: Discovered; discovering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper