descry

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French descrier (to proclaim, announce, cry).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

descry (third-person singular simple present descries, present participle descrying, simple past and past participle descried) (literary)

  1. (transitive) To see.
  2. (transitive) To discover (a distant or obscure object) by the eye; to espy; to discern or detect.
    • c. 1605, William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act IV, Scene 5,[1]
      Edmund, I think, is gone,
      In pity of his misery, to dispatch
      His nighted life; moreover to descry
      The strength o’ th’ enemy.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 10, lines 325-326,[2]
      And now thir way to Earth they had descri’d,
      To Paradise first tending, []
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, London: W. Taylor, 3rd edition, p. 127,[3]
      When I had pass’d the Vale where my Bower stood as above, I came within View of the Sea, to the West, and it being a very clear Day, I fairly descry’d Land—whether an Island or a Continent, I could not tell; but it lay very high, extending from the West to the W.S.W. at a very great Distance;
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity, New York: Macmillan, Chapter 4, p. 47,[4]
      Judge Short had gone to town, and Farrar was off for a three days’ cruise up the lake. I was bitterly regretting I had not gone with him when the distant notes of a coach horn reached my ear, and I descried a four-in-hand winding its way up the inn road from the direction of Mohair.
  3. (transitive) To discover: to disclose; to reveal.
    • 1670, John Milton, The History of Britain, London: James Allestry, Book 2, p. 87,[5]
      His Body was found almost naked in the field, for his Purple Robe he had thrown aside, lest it should descry him, unwilling to be found.

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