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Alternative forms




Derived from the verb discover, on the pattern of the pair recover, recovery. Displaced native Old English onfundennes.


  • IPA(key): /dɪsˈkʌvəɹi/
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discovery (countable and uncountable, plural discoveries)

  1. Something discovered.
    This latest discovery should eventually lead to much better treatments for disease.
  2. (uncountable) The discovering of new things.
    The purpose of the voyage was discovery.
    Automatic discovery of RSS feeds by a Web browser.
    • 1589, Richard Hakluyt, “Iohn Cabots Patent”, in The Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, [], London: [] George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, deputies to Christopher Barker, [], →OCLC, page 509:
      The letters patents of king Henry the ſeuenth granted vnto Iohn Cabot and his three ſonnes, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius, for the discouerie of new and vnknowen lands.
  3. (countable, archaic) An act of uncovering or revealing something; a revelation.
    • 1822, Alain René Le Sage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane:
      Don Huberto actually fell in love with his kinswoman, and had presumption enough to declare his passion [] The lady being a woman of discretion, instead of making a discovery, which might have been attended with melancholy consequences, reprimanded her relation with gentleness []
  4. (law, uncountable) A pre-trial phase in which evidence is gathered.
    The prosecution moved to suppress certain items turned up during discovery.
  5. (law, uncountable) Materials revealed to the opposing party during the pre-trial phase in which evidence is gathered.
    The defense argued that the plaintiff's discovery was inadequate.
  6. (chess) A discovered attack.
    • 1999, Jeremy Silman, The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery, 2nd edition, Los Angeles, C.A.: Siles Press, →ISBN, page 189:
      1700: "If I play f4, he can check me with ...Qd4, but then he has to move his Queen because he can easily lose it to a Bishop discovery on b5. He could also check me on c5 when his Queen might be safer. I could just move out of the way, though, and continue my attack."

Derived terms



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