Definition of discover in US English:

discover

verb

[with object]
  • 1Find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search.

    ‘firemen discovered a body in the debris’
    ‘she discovered her lover in the arms of another woman’
    • ‘Their bodies were discovered by firefighters as they searched the hotel.’
    • ‘Her body was discovered during the routine searches of houses on the estate shortly after 1pm on Tuesday.’
    • ‘The substance was discovered by an employee who sorts through unclaimed luggage to give clothing to homeless organisations.’
    • ‘For 50 years local residents searched for it eventually discovering it in the United States.’
    • ‘The driver and his colleague have been treated in hospital for shock after discovering the bodies.’
    • ‘This year scientists discovered water instead of ice at the North Pole for the first time ever.’
    • ‘The men noticed the boy was missing and after a frantic search they discovered his body in the river.’
    • ‘An all-night search discovered her body early the next morning.’
    • ‘During the search they first discovered a large white bag containing one million dinars, before coming across the padlocked metal box.’
    • ‘However, no weapons or dangerous substances were discovered.’
    • ‘However, follow-up searches failed to discover the murder weapon, which is believed to have been a double-barrel shotgun.’
    • ‘Tapes were discovered during follow-up searches of his house and other buildings he has access to.’
    • ‘She is arrested and, during a search, he discovers her treasure trove of art and music.’
    • ‘Not that long ago, I seem to remember it being a shock for scientists to discover ice on Mars.’
    • ‘We had to return to the site where the scientist had discovered the rock in order to find more.’
    • ‘Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s.’
    • ‘They discovered a suspicious substance when they opened the package, which was part of the postal delivery on Thursday.’
    • ‘In a couple of searches, you rapidly discover a wealth of news footage in the archives of this London-based film-maker.’
    • ‘Oil fever was created a few months earlier when oil was discovered by a gas company drilling at the flour mill in Washington.’
    • ‘A subsequent search allegedly discovered a cache with another 60 kg of the drug.’
    find, locate, come across, come upon, stumble on, chance on, light on, bring to light, uncover, unearth, turn up, track down
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Become aware of (a fact or situation)
      ‘the courage to discover the truth and possibly be disappointed’
      with clause ‘it was a relief to discover that he wasn't in’
      • ‘You could find out that the student has simply lost interest in dance, or maybe you will discover a situation that needs your attention.’
      • ‘That in itself can be extremely dangerous, especially if someone was to discover the fact.’
      • ‘It's also an opportunity to discover fascinating facts about mammal behaviour and find out just where humans fit in amongst the diversity that exists in the world of the warm-blooded.’
      • ‘The police had to release the five after discovering that fact.’
      • ‘However, not every newly discovered fact will support an order setting aside a judgment under this Rule.’
      • ‘After he discovers the fact (as he thinks) of his birth, Daniel is sent to Eton.’
      • ‘The only problem now was what he was going to do with this newly discovered fact.’
      • ‘Think about all the men you know and you may discover an interesting fact about male facial shapes.’
      • ‘I followed my dad into the kitchen to realize my mother had discovered the same fact.’
      • ‘It helps the student to learn how to see and discover details.’
      • ‘The goal of science, which it sometimes reaches, is to discover facts that belong to nature.’
      • ‘I am worried that it would be a traumatic experience for her son to discover these facts as an adult.’
      • ‘I felt my morale lifting by discovering this simple fact.’
      • ‘I did actually discover an interesting fact about beaches.’
      • ‘Bruised and shaken, Elliot heads home for some clean clothes, and discovers his situation is worse than he had realised…’
      • ‘Ideally, education provides one with the ability to determine and discover facts about the real world.’
      • ‘While skimming through an article about ordering paper maps online I discovered a fact that was new to me.’
      • ‘Applications such as this, if allowed to proceed, would result in endless litigation, as events unfold, and facts are discovered.’
      • ‘In answering these questions, it would be reassuring, in a way, to report that the basic facts were discovered only after the war, but the truth is otherwise.’
      • ‘At first they were told she could keep the baby despite having taken one of the pills but the next day they discovered the situation was irretrievable.’
      find out, come to know, learn, realize, recognize, see, ascertain, work out, fathom out, detect, determine, spot, notice, perceive
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Be the first to find or observe (a place, substance, or scientific phenomenon)
      ‘Fleming discovered penicillin early in the twentieth century’
      • ‘The phenomenon was discovered when researchers tested the blood pressure of shoppers at three supermarkets before they started a trek round the aisles.’
      • ‘Scientists have discovered a gene which raises the risk of heart disease among men who smoke up to four times, it was revealed today.’
      • ‘A hitherto unknown worm that survives without oxygen was also discovered by a scientific team.’
      • ‘Since discovering this phenomenon, scientists have sought new ways to prevent or overcome this resistance.’
      • ‘Once these drugs were discovered a few scientists began to examine their effects on brain chemistry.’
      • ‘Scientists studying animals have discovered genes which control obesity.’
      • ‘It begins by describing how heroin was discovered through scientific experimentation in Germany, and its initial uses as a medical aid.’
      • ‘Scientists have discovered a region in the brain which receives stimulation from the body.’
      • ‘With every passing phase, life becomes more complex in the sense that it allows man to either stumble upon or to consciously discover new phenomena and substance.’
      • ‘In 1901 he isolated adrenaline from the supradrenal gland and was the first scientist to discover gland hormones in pure form.’
      • ‘Therefore, efforts to discover such phenomena were undertaken mainly for polymorphism data from regions of low recombination.’
      • ‘In 1882, scientists using microscopes discovered the chromosomes separately.’
      • ‘Try as they might, scientists in hundreds of laboratories around the world failed to discover that substance by classical approaches.’
      • ‘Scientists have discovered a brainless mud worm with DNA remarkably similar to that of humans, indicating we share a common ancestor.’
      • ‘Scientists in Yorkshire have discovered a defective gene which they believe is a major cause of tunnel vision.’
      • ‘The ingredient discovered by the scientists is called theobromine, a derivative found in cocoa.’
      • ‘Scientists have discovered many genes that play important roles in human diseases.’
      • ‘Louis Pasteur unexpectedly discovered the principle of vaccination in 1879.’
      • ‘Scientists have discovered an ingredient in red wine that extends the lifespan of baker's yeast by up to 80 per cent.’
      • ‘Scientists call this recently discovered phenomenon gene silencing.’
      hit on, come up with, invent, originate, devise, design, contrive, conceive of
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Perceive the attractions of (an activity or subject) for the first time.
      ‘a teenager who has recently discovered fashion’
      • ‘The toddler just sucked his thumb and discovered his own entertainment.’
      • ‘I've only recently discovered his work; this one I enjoy for the taste it has of the city and the artists that work within it.’
      • ‘Away from football, for the first time in 20 years, he wanted to discover new activities, like literature and the theatre.’
      • ‘He will speak on reaching peak performance and enabling one to discover one's inner potential.’
      • ‘At the same time, there's a sense of exclusiveness in discovering a band or a singer who you believe is speaking directly to you about your life.’
      • ‘Peter has discovered a subject: medieval thinking about demography.’
      • ‘Ami's tale concerned a day at the lake - and the newly discovered joys of birding.’
      • ‘In search of answers, she turned to research in her native Sweden and discovered the work of a local Professor.’
      • ‘But one definite highlight was discovering her work.’
      • ‘If you don't have people like me out there telling some of the stories, you're not going to have people who had broader interest discovering those subjects.’
      • ‘By chance we recently discovered the work of a guy who is using his blogs for something utterly obsessive and brilliant.’
      • ‘It was only last summer that I discovered the band and it was out of print already.’
      • ‘Obviously, there isn't much hope for religious reporting when the mainstream media is just now discovering the issues of the turn of the 20th century.’
      • ‘They have recently discovered a new method of Healing, which has been used in America for 27 years.’
      • ‘I've only discovered his work over the last few months and I can't recommend him highly enough.’
      • ‘A friend of mine has discovered the joys of Japanese eggplants.’
    4. 1.4 Be the first to recognize the potential of (an actor, singer, or musician)
      ‘I discovered the band back in the mid 70s’
      • ‘Of course, the true champion for many trees probably grows in obscurity like a wannabe actor waiting to be discovered.’
      • ‘But although he has found the technology to come up with the tunes, he has struggled to discover vocalists to deliver the goods.’
      • ‘We have discovered a conductor now, which is exciting in itself.’
      • ‘Alan McGee discovered the band in Scotland and T was where they first showed their full potential.’
      • ‘In 1996, the manager of Capitol Records discovered the band and signed them to the label.’
      • ‘Yet Elvis was not by any stretch the only artist discovered by him.’
      • ‘When she moved to Dublin she continued performing, and was discovered by a Galway trad band.’
      • ‘He should be recognized for discovering the young man.’
      • ‘At the same time, new actors discovered in Rome also perform on this cinquecento Venetian stage.’
      • ‘This format is still the shop window for any new band to be discovered.’
      • ‘I have discovered a drummer that will knock your socks off.’
      • ‘The Super League side held regional sessions at eight venues across the country on Sunday in a bid to discover a potential star.’
      • ‘And in him, the small screen has discovered an entertainer with gravitas.’
      • ‘But Manchester's own Olympic sprint gold medallist today launched a campaign to discover a potential successor to his crown as Britain's top sprinter.’
      • ‘She left the band and was discovered by Gianni Versace who, recognising her talents, ‘adopted’ her as his sister.’
  • 2archaic Divulge (a secret)

    ‘they contain some secrets which Time will discover’
    • ‘In time the best of Schoenberg will, of course, survive and time will discover the proper values.’
    • ‘What these changes are, time will discover.’
    • ‘"Time will discover the hand that baptizes him," the old man said.’
    • ‘Only time will discover what this blog will evolve into.’
    • ‘Whether he think as he speaks, time will discover.’
    divulge, disclose, tell, let out, let slip, let drop, let fall, give away, give the game away, give the show away, blurt, blurt out, babble, give out, release, leak, betray, open up, unveil, bring out into the open
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Disclose the identity of (someone)
      ‘she at last discovered herself to me’
      • ‘A little time afterwards she discovered herself to him.’
      • ‘The local citizens interested in various forms of athletic sports and quieter games of chess and checkers have discovered themselves to the editors.’
      • ‘This was also the favourite object of his charity after he had discovered himself to the world in Limousin.’
      • ‘So both of them discovered themselves to the garrison of the Philistines.’
      • ‘For seven days he remained in his voluntary prison; but his stock of water being expended, he discovered himself to the captain, who literally cut him out of the hold, and rather reluctantly gave him his liberty on arriving at Boston.’
    2. 2.2 Display (a quality or feeling)
      ‘with what agility did these military men discover their skill in feats of war’
      • ‘In this nostalgia for community some would discover utopian impulses, others would decry imaginary fulfilments as ideological.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘make known’): from Old French descovrir, from late Latin discooperire, from Latin dis- (expressing reversal) + cooperire ‘cover completely’ (see cover).

Pronunciation

discover

/dəˈskəvər//dəˈskəvər/