find out

verb (used with object), found, find·ing.

  1. to come upon by chance; meet with: He found a nickel in the street.
  2. to locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort: to find an apartment; to find happiness.
  3. to locate or recover (something lost or misplaced): I can’t find my blue socks.
  4. to discover or perceive after consideration: to find something to be true.
  5. to gain or regain the use of: His anger finally helped him find his tongue.
  6. to ascertain by study or calculation: to find the sum of several numbers.
  7. to feel or perceive: He finds it so.
  8. to become aware of, or discover (oneself), as being in a condition or location: After a long illness, he found himself well again. She woke to find herself at home.
  9. to discover: Columbus found America in 1492.
  10. Law.
    1. to determine after judicial inquiry: to find a person guilty.
    2. to pronounce as an official act (an indictment, verdict, or judgment).
  11. to provide or furnish: Bring blankets and we’ll find the rest of the equipment for the trip.
  12. South Midland and Southern U.S. (of farm animals) to give birth to: The brown cow found a calf yesterday.

verb (used without object), found, find·ing.

  1. to determine an issue after judicial inquiry: The jury found for the plaintiff.
  2. British Hunting. to come upon game.


  1. an act of finding or discovering.
  2. something found; a discovery, especially a valuable or gratifying one: Our cook was a find.
  3. Hunting. a discovery of game, especially foxes.

Verb Phrases

  1. find out,
    1. to discover or confirm the truth of (something).
    2. to detect or expose, as a crime or offense.
    3. to uncover the true nature, identity, or intentions of (someone): They found him out before he could launch the rebellion.
  1. find fault. fault(def 16).
  2. find oneself, to discover where one’s real interests or talents lie, and follow them: After trying many occupations, he finally found himself and became an account executive.

verb (adverb)

  1. to gain knowledge of (something); learnhe found out what he wanted
  2. to detect the crime, deception, etc, of (someone)

verb finds, finding or found (faʊnd) (mainly tr)

  1. to meet with or discover by chance
  2. to discover or obtain, esp by search or effortto find happiness
  3. (may take a clause as object) to become aware of; realizehe found that nobody knew
  4. (may take a clause as object) to regard as being; considerI find this wine a little sour
  5. to look for and point out (something to be criticized)to find fault
  6. (also intr) law to determine an issue after judicial inquiry and pronounce a verdict (upon)the court found the accused guilty
  7. to regain (something lost or not functioning)to find one’s tongue
  8. to reach (a target)the bullet found its mark
  9. to provide, esp with difficultywe’ll find room for you too
  10. to be able to payI can’t find that amount of money
  11. find oneself to realize and accept one’s real character; discover one’s true vocation
  12. find one’s feet to become capable or confident, as in a new job


  1. a person, thing, etc, that is found, esp a valuable or fortunate discovery

“person or thing discovered,” 1825, from find (v.).


Old English findan “come upon, meet with, discover; obtain by search or study” (class III strong verb; past tense fand, past participle funden), from Proto-Germanic *finthan “to come upon, discover” (cf. Old Saxon findan, Old Frisian finda, Old Norse finna, Middle Dutch vinden, Old High German findan, German finden, Gothic finþan), originally “to come upon.”

The Germanic word is from PIE root *pent- “to tread, go” (cf. Old High German fendeo “pedestrian;” Sanskrit panthah “path, way;” Avestan panta “way;” Greek pontos “open sea,” patein “to tread, walk;” Latin pons (genitive pontis) “bridge;” Old Church Slavonic poti “path,” peta “heel;” Russian put’ “path, way”). To find out “to discover by scrutiny” is from 1550s (Middle English had a verb, outfinden, c.1300).


Discover through examination or inquiry, as in You can find out his phone number by looking in the book. [Mid-1500]


Expose, detect the true nature or character of, especially in an offense. For example, Cheaters risk being found out. [c. 1700]

In addition to the idioms beginning with find

  • find fault
  • find it in one’s heart
  • find one’s bearings
  • find oneself
  • find one’s way
  • find out
  • find true north

also see:

  • hard way (find out the)
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