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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sometimes I believe I have detected you when there was no signature.'

    New Grub Street George Gissing
  • In imagination she detected a faint odor like that from her mother's medicine-closet.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • We are detected, worse luck, and are rewarded with a ‘mod’ each.

  • They detected odors so refined that I was not aware of them.

    Mizora: A Prophecy Mary E. Bradley
  • A number of observers who have detected clouds in Mars described them as being yellowish in color.

    Mars and its Mystery Edward Sylvester Morse
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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