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What is the difference between ‘discover’ and ‘uncover’?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are many cases where either word could be used. However uncover carries the implication that something was covered or hidden, often on purpose or perhaps with the passing of time. Something that was previously known is being re-discovered.

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That becomes clear when we say that food was uncovered but not discovered...thanks. – nicholas ainsworth Apr 2 '11 at 12:04

One generally "discovers" something that is unknown (or at least, unknown to the demographic being referred to), but they "uncover" something that has been deliberately hidden.

Essentially, to dis-cover something is to make it no longer covered. To un-cover something it to remove a cover that was intentionally placed.

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"uncover" emphasizes the preexistence of the truth, while "discover" does the creative work of the one who discovers. The old truth unveils itself according to its own time, while a creative scientist disovers a new truth. Thus,"uncover" attributes its credit to the truth itself, while "discover" does its credit to the work of man.

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