verb (used with object)

  1. 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.
  2. to notice or realize: I discovered I didn’t have my credit card with me when I went to pay my bill.
  3. Archaic. to make known; reveal; disclose.

verb (tr; may take a clause as object)

  1. to be the first to find or find out aboutFleming discovered penicillin
  2. to learn about or encounter for the first time; realizeshe discovered the pleasures of wine
  3. to find after study or searchI discovered a leak in the tank
  4. to reveal or make known

c.1300, “divulge, reveal, disclose,” from Old French descovrir “uncover, unroof, unveil, reveal, betray,” from Late Latin discooperire, from Latin dis- “opposite of” (see dis-) + cooperire “to cover up” (see cover). At first with a sense of betrayal or malicious exposure (discoverer originally meant “informant”); the meaning “to obtain knowledge or sight of what was not known” is from 1550s. Related: Discovered; discovering.

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