Let me give you an example of the situation where I would like to use this "word/phrase/idiom/expression". A friend of mine who had a laptop for 3 months now accidentally discovers that it is screen-touch enabled when his fingertip brushed against his monitor when he was pointing something to his boss. "Discovered" does seem like a good fit but it sounds pretty dull, at-least in my mind.

I have thought of two phrases: "right under his nose this whole time" and "Eureka Eureka" when I would like to tell this anecdote to someone but I am not sure if it is appropriate in this instance. Also I need alternatives to carry a humorous tone not bothering about if it is a bit exaggerated form.

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    My mother would have said "If it was a snake it woulda bit you", but that's probably a little too dialect for your purposes. Aug 20, 2015 at 12:11
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    Actually, it's a case of "missed something even when it was lying really close the whole time" rather than one of epiphany -- could be more like aha moment instead.
    – Kris
    Aug 20, 2015 at 12:38
  • Stoney - that's exactly right, and I don't think it's too dialect. Everyone knows that one.
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 12:40
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    @JoeBlow Actually although it would be understood in British English, it is not used there. The only other time I have heard this expression is in the film 'Grease'...
    – Marv Mills
    Aug 20, 2015 at 12:46
  • Hi Marv .. hmm, I wonder why our experience is different. I believe it's pretty common in, for example, Australia. I may be wrong though. Good one, thanks.
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 12:51

5 Answers 5


In the actual laptop situation you describe, sometimes "realised" (or "finally realised") makes more sense. You also have "finally noticed".

It's a little clearer than "discovered" which doesn't quite fit. (It's kind of the opposite of a long quest with a discovery at the end ... you know?)

As you already said, "right under his nose this whole time" of course fits perfectly (why are you even asking for another?) And as Stoney's Mother said "If it was a snake, it woulda bit you." (I also like "If it was a snake, it woulda bit you in the ass.")

Note that often the "correct answer" to SWRs is "there is, simply, NOT exactly an SWR for that" ... and/or ... "well yes you've given the best answer already."

Finally, just a note that


is a (funny, I think) recently popular term that is used in situations like this.

enter image description here

(Interestingly I think you could almost just about start using that as a verb or similar form, for situations such as finding something that was right in front of you ... "I facepalmed my spectacles this morning - they were on my head the whole time!")


The phrase 'hidden in plain sight' comes close, in terms of the method of obfuscation, but does not really communicate the accidental location. Still, it may be of some use.


Adjective (not comparable)

That [which] seems to be hidden, but actually is not hidden and is easy to be found


  • Just what Marv said.
    – Fattie
    Aug 20, 2015 at 12:43

Here's an "oldie but goodie":

"He touched the screen and, lo and behold, he realized that it was a "touch-screen" computer."

  • I wish I had the freedom to accept two answers, so I could have marked yours too. Aug 20, 2015 at 15:09


It has to be pronounced with a certain intonation (high to low and then a bit up again) and a certain facial expression.

Example: Today I figured out my laptop has a touch screen. Duh! I've only had it for three months!

(The last part is pronounced with sarcasm.)

This would be a way of poking fun at yourself. Duh means it should have been obvious.

  • I just thought of another idea, something having to do with "it was staring me in the face." Aug 23, 2015 at 14:32

That would be a serendipitous discovery.

Definition of serendipitous in English:
Occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way:
'a serendipitous encounter'


  • that is a good suggestion but it doesn't capture the proximity Aug 20, 2015 at 12:28

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