[ dih-skuhv-uh-ree ]
/ dɪˈskʌv ə ri /
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See synonyms for: discovery / discoveries on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural dis·cov·er·ies.
the act or process of seeing, finding, or gaining knowledge of something previously unknown, or an instance of this:The university is dedicated to the discovery, development, communication, and application of knowledge in a wide range of academic and professional fields.Shortly after the discovery of the tomb, many people associated with the expedition died.
something found, found out, noticed, or realized:In 2009, archaeologists in Rome unearthed a startling discovery: the remains of an elaborate banquet hall built during the reign of Nero.
Law. the compulsory exchange or disclosure of information, evidence, documents, etc., in preparation for a lawsuit or trial:The plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery, but the defendants argued that some of the information was exempt.
Discovery .U.S. Aerospace. the third space shuttle to orbit and return to earth.
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Origin of discovery

First recorded in 1545–55; discover + -y3


non·dis·cov·er·y, noun, plural non·dis·cov·er·ies.pre·dis·cov·er·y, noun, plural pre·dis·cov·er·ies.re·dis·cov·er·y, noun, plural re·dis·cov·er·ies.self-dis·cov·er·y, noun, plural self·-dis·cov·er·ies.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does discovery mean?

A discovery is something that has been discovered—found or found out about for the first time.

Discovery can also mean the process of discovering.

Discoveries involve finding or gaining knowledge about something that was previously unknown or unseen. The word is especially associated with finding new places (as in the discovery of new lands) and scientific breakthroughs (as in the discovery of a cure).

The word discovery is also used in a much more specific way in the context of law, in which it refers to the required disclosure of things like documents to the other party during a legal proceeding, as in These invoices were produced by client during discovery.

Example: Ancient Oceanic peoples discovered new methods of seafaring that allowed their discovery and settlement of faraway islands.

Where does discovery come from?

The first records of the word discovery come from the 1500s. It ultimately derives from the Late Latin discooperīre, meaning “to disclose” or “to expose.” The suffix -y is used to form abstract nouns from verbs (it’s used in the same way to form the noun recovery from the verb recover).

When a discovery is made, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the thing found 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.

Discovery involves seeing, learning of, or encountering something for the first time. History books are filled with examples of people credited with the discovery of a new place even though it was already inhabited, or of people credited with having made some kind of scientific or technological discovery 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 they found it again.

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What are some other forms related to discovery

What are some synonyms for discovery?

  • find (when find is used as a noun)

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

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

How is discovery used in real life?

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



Try using discovery!

Which of the following things could be considered a discovery?

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

How to use discovery in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for discovery

/ (dɪˈskʌvərɪ) /

noun plural -eries
the act, process, or an instance of discovering
a person, place, or thing that has been discovered
law the compulsory disclosure by a party to an action of relevant documents in his possession
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