O.E. findan "come upon, alight on" (class III strong verb; past tense fand, pp. funden), from P.Gmc. *finthanan (cf. O.S. findan, O.N. finna, M.Du. vinden, Ger. finden, Goth. finþan), originally "to come upon," perhaps from PIE *pent- "to go, pass, path, bridge" (cf. O.H.G. fendeo "pedestrian," Skt. panthah "path, way," Avestan panta "way," Gk. pontos "open sea," L. pons (gen. pontis) "bridge," O.C.S. poti "path," peta "heel"). To find out to discover by scrutiny is from 1550s. The noun meaning "person or thing discovered" is from 1825, from the verb.
c.1300, an abandoned child, from prp. of '-find (v.). Cf. foundling. Later, a discovery; that which is found out. Related: Findings.