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.
- to rectify alternating signal currents in a radio receiver.
- to demodulate.
- to perceive or noticeto 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)
v.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.