Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


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

  • transitive v. To catch sight of (something difficult to discern). See Synonyms at see1.
  • transitive v. To discover by careful observation or scrutiny; detect: descried a message of hope in her words.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To see
  • v. To notice carefully; to detect

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To spy out or discover by the eye, as objects distant or obscure; to espy; to recognize; to discern; to discover.
  • transitive v. To discover; to disclose; to reveal.
  • n. Discovery or view, as of an army seen at a distance.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To proclaim; announce; make known.
  • To detect; find out; discover (anything concealed).
  • To spy out; explore; examine by observation.
  • To discover by vision; get a sight of; make out by looking: as, the lookout descried land.
  • n. Discovery; something discovered.

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

  • v. catch sight of


Middle English descrien, from Old French descrier, to call, cry out; see decry.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French descrier ("to proclaim, announce, cry"). (Wiktionary)


  • Shakespeare 'descry' also occurs in the sense of 'to reconnoitre.'

    Milton's Comus

  • From my window I could descry, at no great distance, a very ordinary mortal of a man, working industriously among his cabbages.

    The Dignity of Dollars

  • Barton a super-woman -- or at least they were personalities so designated by the cub book-reviewers, flat-floor men and women, and scholastically emasculated critics, who from across the dreary levels of their living can descry no glorious humans over-topping their horizons.


  • By the glimmer of light lent me, I can but guess greatness and descry vagueness.

    The Kempton-Wace Letters

  • If China, for example, tried a defendant after doing all this and then found them guilty and executed them, would we not descry this as another example of tyranny?

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » My Problem with the KSM Trial

  • Then we head for high ground, and we all descry the steep walls to map a route upward.

    Richard Bangs: Following Brad and Angelina to Namibia, Part I

  • He could descry objects enough at such times, but none correctly.

    Weatherwatch: The snow's solemn stillness

  • I can understand why people spend entire lifetimes playing the Shakespeare game, that is trying to descry the human being behind the scintillant words: the densest exegesis is a passionate argument, to another Shakespeare lover, with the ghostly form on the other side of the curtain of time.

    BOOK VIEW CAFE BLOG » A Riff on Rereading

  • For, be it known in advance, Lee Barton was a super-man and Ida Barton a super-woman -- or at least the were personalities so designated by the cub book reviewers, flat-floor men and women, and scholastically emasculated critics, who, from across the dreary levels of their living, can descry no glorious humans overtopping their horizons.

    “It was the Golden Fleece ready for the shearing.”

  • As I went in, I could descry Wisting a little way off kneeling on the ground, and engaged in the manufacture of cutlets.

    The South Pole~ Through the Mountains


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

  • to discover by observation; to catch sight of

    March 23, 2007