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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 undetected
  • But this inattention can leave skin cancers undetected.
  • When an outbreak occurs undetected in a facility, viruses can mutate as they cycle through large flocks or herds.
  • Some new physical interactions at high energies, as yet undetected, are needed to resolve this fascinating puzzle.
  • Also, some of them could have arrived years earlier undetected.
  • At the moment regulators can only see the broker who executed the trade, which makes it easier for dodgy trades to go undetected.
  • Counter-terror experts say some groups have simply switched to using more cash, slipping across borders undetected.
  • But any piece of software that does a meaningful job will contain hundreds, or even thousands, of undetected bugs.
  • They are the land mines of space, undetected until something crosses their path.
  • If undetected by your dentist, these early signs of decay could turn into painful cavities.
  • They're vulnerable to malfunction and mischief that could go undetected.
British Dictionary definitions for undetected


not perceived, noticed, or discovered: the fake bomb passed undetected


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 undetected

1590s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of detect. Undetectable is recorded from 1863.



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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