I would like to know the difference between 見つける and 発見する

Some partial answer has been given in:

(~を)見つける means "to find ~~". Source: What is the difference between 見つける and 探す

But I found some sentences where both have been translated as "find"

わたしはあくまでも彼女を見つけるつもりです。 I will definitely find her.

KTビル4階で対象を発見しました I found the target on the fourth floor of the KT Building.

Are they equivalent or is there a slight difference ?

1 Answer 1


This is basically another problem. 発見 is a much bigger and stiffer word used in scientific, military or other serious business contexts. You should not use 発見 in everyday casual conversations unless a joke is intended.

  • 1
    Perhaps it's meant as a joke, but for example saying 大発見 is not so rare in everyday casual conversations.
    – user36788
    Mar 9, 2020 at 3:29
  • 2
    @Ben 大発見 may be a little more common than "great discovery", but it's basically a humorous and exaggerated expression in casual conversation.
    – naruto
    Mar 9, 2020 at 4:40

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