[ dih-skuhv-er ]
/ dɪˈskʌv ər /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: discover / discovered / discovering / discovers on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
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.
to notice or realize: I discovered I didn't have my credit card with me when I went to pay my bill.
Archaic. to make known; reveal; disclose.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of discover

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English discouere(n), descuvere(n), from Anglo-French discoverir, descovrir, from Old French descovrir, descuvrir, from Late Latin discooperīre “to disclose, expose”; see origin at dis-1, cover

synonym study for discover

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.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What are other ways to say discover?

To discover something is to see, get knowledge of, or find it. How does discover differ from learn, ascertain, and detect? Find out on Thesaurus.com.


What does discover mean?

To discover is to find or find out about something for the first time.

Discovering involves locating or gaining knowledge about something that was previously unknown or unseen. The word is especially associated with finding new places (as in discovering new lands) and scientific breakthroughs (as in discovering a cure).

Something that’s discovered in this way is called a discovery. The adjective undiscovered is used to describe something that has never been found, as in Even in the modern age, there are still probably a few undiscovered places. 

The word discover also has few a more basic senses: to notice or realize (as in When I went to open the door, I discovered that I had lost my key); to encounter for the first time (as in I remember when I discovered my love of coffee); and to find after research or inspection (as in I discovered the bug in the code).

Example: Ancient Oceanic peoples discovered new methods of seafaring that allowed them to discover and settle faraway islands.

Where does discover come from?

The first records of the word discover come from the 1300s. It comes from the Late Latin discooperīre, meaning “to disclose” or “to expose.” The prefix dis- indicates a reversal. The prefix un- in uncover means just about the same thing, but discover and uncover are typically used in different ways.

When something is discovered, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it had been covered or hidden. Though its use can sometimes overlap with discover, the word uncover typically means something different—“to expose” or “to reveal.” To discover a conspiracy is to find out that it exists, but to uncover it is to reveal it.

Discovering something involves seeing it, learning of it, or encountering it for the first time. History books are filled with examples of people credited with having discovered a new place even though it was already inhabited, or of people credited with having made some kind of scientific or technological breakthrough when in fact it was known about for a long time by someone else or by people in another part of the world. In cases like this, the so-called discoverer didn’t really discover the thing so much as found it again.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to discover

What are some synonyms for discover?

What are some words that share a root or word element with discover

What are some words that often get used in discussing discover?

How is discover used in real life?

The word discover is especially used in the context of exploration and scientific breakthroughs.



Try using discover!

Which of the following things could be discovered?

A. a newly found species
B. a newly observed planet
C. a newly developed cure
D. all of the above

How to use discover in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discover

/ (dɪˈskʌvə) /

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

Derived forms of discover

discoverable, 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