verb in·ves·ti·gate \in-ˈves-tə-ˌgāt\

: to try to find out the facts about (something, such as a crime or an accident) in order to learn how it happened, who did it, etc.

: to try to get information about (someone who may have done something illegal)


Full Definition of INVESTIGATE

transitive verb
:  to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry
intransitive verb
:  to make a systematic examination; especially :  to conduct an official inquiry
in·ves·ti·ga·tion \-ˌves-tə-ˈgā-shən\ noun
in·ves·ti·ga·tive \-ˈves-tə-ˌgā-tiv\ adjective
in·ves·ti·ga·tor \-ˌgā-tər\ noun
in·ves·ti·ga·to·ry \-ˈves-ti-gə-ˌtr-ē\ adjective


  1. The police are still investigating the murder.
  2. The accident was thoroughly investigated.
  3. The manager promised to investigate when we pointed out an error on our bill.
  4. He was investigated for his involvement in the incident.


Latin investigatus, past participle of investigare to track, investigate, from in- + vestigium footprint, track
First Known Use: circa 1510


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INVESTIGATED Defined for Kids


verb in·ves·ti·gate \in-ˈve-stə-ˌgāt\

Definition of INVESTIGATE for Kids

:  to study by close examination and questioning <Police are investigating the crime.>
in·ves·ti·ga·tor \-ˌgā-tər\ noun


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