English

Definition of detect verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  

detect

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//dɪˈtekt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtekt//
 
Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they detect
BrE BrE//dɪˈtekt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtekt//
 
he / she / it detects
BrE BrE//dɪˈtekts//
 
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtekts//
 
past simple detected
BrE BrE//dɪˈtektɪd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtektɪd//
 
past participle detected
BrE BrE//dɪˈtektɪd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtektɪd//
 
-ing form detecting
BrE BrE//dɪˈtektɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtektɪŋ//
 
Experiments and research
 
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detect something to discover or notice something, especially something that is not easy to see, hear, etc. The tests are designed to detect the disease early. an instrument that can detect small amounts of radiation Do I detect a note of criticism? Synonymsnoticenote detect observe witnessThese words all mean to see something, especially when you pay careful attention to it.notice to see, hear or become aware of somebody/​something; to pay attention to somebody/​something:The first thing I noticed about the room was the smell.note (rather formal) to notice or pay careful attention to something:Please note (that) the office will be closed on Monday. This word is very common in business English:Note that the prices are inclusive of VAT.detect to discover or notice something, especially something that is not easy to see, hear, etc:The tests are designed to detect the disease early.observe (formal) to see or notice somebody/​something:Have you observed any changes lately? The police observed a man enter the bank.witness (rather formal) to see something happen:Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them.Patterns to notice/​note/​detect/​observe that/​how/​what/​where/​who… to notice/​observe/​witness something happen/​somebody do something See related entries: Experiments and research Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin detect- ‘uncovered’, from the verb detegere, from de- (expressing reversal) + tegere ‘to cover’. The original senses were ‘uncover, expose’ and ‘give someone away’, later ‘expose the real or hidden nature of’; hence the current senses (partly influenced by detective).Extra examples Some cancers can now be cured if they are detected early. Some substances can be detected fairly easily. The test failed to detect any illegal substances. a machine that is sensitive enough to detect tiny amounts of explosives Do I detect a note of criticism in your voice? These creatures are so small they would be impossible to detect with the human eye. This is an instrument that can detect very small amounts of radiation.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: detect