_discover himself to me_

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Dec 5 13:46:34 UTC 2008

At 12/5/2008 05:31 AM, David Metevia wrote:
>I am currently reading _FRANKENSTEIN_ and this sentence seems odd:
>I did not doubt but that the monster followed me and would discover
>himself to me when I should have finished, that he might receive his
>I would have expected _reveal_ and not discover.

The first few definitions of "discover" in the OED have the sense of
"uncover", specifically "3.a. To disclose or expose to view (anything
covered up, hidden, or previously unseen), to reveal [note!], show.
Now rare."  A couple of 18th century quotations:  "1716 LADY M. W.
MONTAGU Let. to Pope 14 Sept., The stage was built over a..canal,
and, at the beginning of the second act, divided into two parts
discovering the water. 1797 MRS. RADCLIFFE Italian xxxii, This
discovered to Schedoni the various figures assembled in his dusky chamber."

There is also "6. To reveal the identity of (a person); hence, to
betray. arch."

Chess has the "discovered check".

"Reveal"s closest sense is 3.[b.] "To display, show, make clear or
visible, exhibit." [reflexive].

So I suspect the answer lies in which was more common at the time,
and personal preference of the author.  It is perhaps interesting,
though, that the OED has no definition, nor any quotes that I
noticed, for a reflexive form.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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