from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To notice or learn, especially by making an effort.
  • transitive verb To be the first, or the first of one's group or kind, to find, learn of, or observe.
  • transitive verb To learn about for the first time in one's experience.
  • transitive verb To learn something about.
  • transitive verb To identify (a person) as a potentially prominent performer.
  • transitive verb Archaic To reveal or expose.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • . To uncover; lay open to view; disclose; make visible; hence, to show.
  • To exhibit; allow to be seen and known; act so as to manifest (unconsciously or unin-tentionally); betray: as, to discover a generous spirit; he discovered great confusion.
  • To make known by speech; tell; reveal.
  • To gain a sight of, especially for the first time or after a period of concealment; espy: as, land was discovered on the lee bow.
  • Hence To gain the first knowledgeof; find out, as something that was before entirely unknown, either to men in general, to the finder, or to persons concerned: as, Columbus discovered the new world; Newton discovered the law of gravitation; we often discover our mistakes when too late.
  • . To explore; bring to light by examination.
  • . To cause to cease to be a covering; make to be no longer a cover.
  • =Syn. 3.. To communicate, impart.
  • To descry, discern, behold.
  • Discover, invent, agree in signifying to find out; but we discover what already exists, though to us unknown; we invent what did not before exist: as, to discover the applicability of steam to the purposes of locomotion, and to invent, the machinery necessary to use steam for these ends. (See invention.) Some things are of so mixed a character that either word may be applied to them.
  • To uncover; unmask one's self.
  • To explore.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To uncover.
  • transitive verb Archaic To disclose; to lay open to view; to make visible; to reveal; to make known; to show (what has been secret, unseen, or unknown).
  • transitive verb To obtain for the first time sight or knowledge of, as of a thing existing already, but not perceived or known; to find; to ascertain; to espy; to detect.
  • transitive verb To manifest without design; to show.
  • transitive verb obsolete To explore; to examine.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To discover or show one's self.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, obsolete To remove the cover from; to uncover (a head, building etc.).
  • verb transitive To expose, uncover.
  • verb transitive, chess To create by moving a piece out of another piece's line of attack.
  • verb transitive, archaic To reveal (information); to divulge, make known.
  • verb transitive, obsolete To reconnoitre, explore (an area).
  • verb To find something for the first time.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb find unexpectedly
  • verb make a discovery
  • verb get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally
  • verb discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
  • verb identify as in botany or biology, for example
  • verb see for the first time; make a discovery
  • verb make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret
  • verb make a discovery, make a new finding


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English discoveren, to reveal, from Old French descovrir, from Late Latin discooperīre : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin cooperīre, to cover; see cover.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French descovrir, from Latin discooperiō, from dis- + cooperiō.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word discover.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.