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[dih-tekt] /dɪˈtɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to discover or catch (a person) in the performance of some act:
to detect someone cheating.
to discover the existence of:
to detect the odor of gas.
to find out the true character or activity of:
to detect a spy.
  1. to rectify alternating signal currents in a radio receiver.
  2. to demodulate.
Origin of detect
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin dētēctus (past participle of dētegere), equivalent to dē- de- + teg(ere) to cover + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
detectable, detectible, adjective
detectability, detectibility, noun
predetect, verb (used with object)
undetectable, adjective
undetectably, adverb
undetected, adjective
undetectible, adjective
Synonym Study
2. See learn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for detected
  • What a delight it was when my nose detected this several autumns ago.
  • Venom allergies can now be detected through blood work and by performing skin tests.
  • There are multiple versions of this gene, accounting for the variation in how strongly bitter flavors are detected.
  • Scientists have detected beams of antimatter coming out of thunderstorms and heading into spa.
  • No astronomer or science journalist would venture to say that any of the planets detected so far are suitable for life.
  • Scientists have detected beams of antimatter coming out of thunderstorms and heading into space.
  • These elements of my nature could be detected at an early age.
  • The alarm sprays a wasabi extract into the room when smoke is detected.
  • The animal detected me and in an instant turned tail and sprinted into the woods.
  • Sardines can add a strong meaty flavor to dishes as well, without being detected as sardines.
British Dictionary definitions for detected


verb (transitive)
to perceive or notice: to detect a note of sarcasm
to discover the existence or presence of (esp something likely to elude observation): to detect alcohol in the blood
to extract information from (an electromagnetic wave)
(obsolete) to reveal or expose (a crime, criminal, etc)
Derived Forms
detectable, detectible, adjective
detecter, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dētectus uncovered, from dētegere to uncover, from de- + tegere to cover
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for detected



early 15c., from Latin detectus, past participle of detegere "uncover, expose," figuratively "discover, reveal, disclose," from de- "un-, off" (see de-) + tegere "to cover" (see stegosaurus). Related: Detected; detecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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