search

verb
\ ˈsərch How to pronounce search (audio) \
searched; searching; searches

Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to look into or over carefully or thoroughly in an effort to find or discover something: such as
a : to examine in seeking something searched the north field
b : to look through or explore by inspecting possible places of concealment or investigating suspicious circumstances
c : to read thoroughly : check especially : to examine a public record or register for information about search land titles
d : to examine for articles concealed on the person
e : to look at as if to discover or penetrate intention or nature
2 : to uncover, find, or come to know by inquiry or scrutiny usually used with out

intransitive verb

1 : to look or inquire carefully searched for the papers
2 : to make painstaking investigation or examination

search

noun

Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act of searching a search for food go in search of help
b : an act of boarding and inspecting a ship on the high seas in exercise of right of search
2 obsolete : a party that searches
3 : power or range of penetrating also : a penetrating effect

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Other Words from search

Verb

searchability \ ˌsər-​chə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce searchability (audio) \ noun
searchable \ ˈsər-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce searchable (audio) \ adjective
searcher noun
searchingly \ ˈsər-​chiŋ-​lē How to pronounce searchingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of search in a Sentence

Verb They haven't found him yet, so they have to keep searching. The police searched her for concealed weapons. He was searched by the guard before he was allowed to enter the courtroom. The software allows you to search thousands of sites at the same time. She searched for information on the Web. He searched her face, hoping to see some glimmer of emotion. Noun We will begin a search for a new manager this week. I performed a search for the file. I did a Web search for restaurants in that area.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb State police from Lamar deployed divers and search dogs to the areas around the boat launch in Wayne Township. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Skeletal remains found in Susquehanna River believed to be Pennsylvania fisherman Alexis Mardis missing since October 2019," 8 July 2020 And search and rescue operations continued in Kumamoto, where 14 people are still missing. Washington Post, "Japan battered by more heavy rain, floods, nearly 60 dead," 8 July 2020 Following the Mariner probes in the 1960s and 1970s, which returned the first images of the planet, the Viking 1 and 2 landers became the first—and still the most ambitious—missions to search for Martian life. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "Summer on Mars: NASA's Perseverance Rover Is One of Three Missions Ready to Launch," 7 July 2020 Griffin recommends the website smartlabel.org to search ingredients used in a cleaning product. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Can shopping cart disinfectant cause chemical skin reactions? A Houston doctor weighs in.," 7 July 2020 The search warrant authorized the police to search Taylor's apartment, two vehicles, and three people, including Taylor, and to seize, among other things, drugs and drug paraphernalia, money, safes, weapons, documents and computers. Madeline Holcombe And Alec Snyder, CNN, "Warrant in fatal encounter between Breonna Taylor and police was linked to gentrification plan, family's lawyers claim," 7 July 2020 The United Arab Emirates is preparing to launch its first Martian satellite, Hope, which will search for clues to the Red Planet’s atmospheric mysteries. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "The UAE’s First Mars Mission Is a Robo-Meteorologist," 6 July 2020 Taylor was shot eight times after officers broke into her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March while carrying out a no-knock warrant to search for drugs. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "'She suffered': Breonna Taylor's family says officers failed to give her medical attention after shooting," 6 July 2020 To search for ticks, it is recommended to look under the pet's collar, eyelids, ears, groin, armpits, feet and tails. Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press, "Tick disease with coronavirus-like symptoms is on a rise in Michigan," 6 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During a search of the house, police discovered that Muench's car, a silver Mercury Sable, was missing and alerted surrounding police agencies to be on the lookout. Helen Wieffering, The Arizona Republic, "Police arrest El Mirage man suspected of murdering 2 people inside their home," 9 July 2020 Human remains were found Tuesday near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood, during a the search for Guillén. CBS News, "Army confirms remains found near Fort Hood are Vanessa Guillén," 6 July 2020 Human remains were found Tuesday near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood, during a the search for Guillen. Jake Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "Family attorney: Army has identified remains of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen," 6 July 2020 Guillen’s younger sister Lupe, accused the Army of purposefully covering up the case during the search for Guillen. Fox News, "Head of Hispanic group urges Latinas not to join military after Vanessa Guillen's death," 5 July 2020 Human remains were found Tuesday near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Fort Hood, during a the search for Guillén. Jake Bleiberg, Houston Chronicle, "Lawyer: Remains of missing Fort Hood soldier identified," 5 July 2020 Human remains were found Tuesday near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Fort Hood, during a the search for Guillén. Washington Post, "Lawyer: Remains of missing Texas soldier identified," 5 July 2020 During the search, officers heard a single gunshot coming from the woods. Madeline Mitchell, The Enquirer, "'He was checking to make sure that this man was okay.' Toledo police officer killed in the line of duty," 4 July 2020 Her remains were found Monday, Nov. 25, during a search in the 38000 block of County Road 2 in Shorter. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Suspect in Aniah Blanchard killing now charged in unrelated Montgomery cold case homicide," 25 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'search.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of search

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for search

Verb

Middle English cerchen, from Anglo-French cercher, sercher to travel about, investigate, search, from Late Latin circare to go about, from Latin circum round about — more at circum-

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Time Traveler for search

Time Traveler

The first known use of search was in the 14th century

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Statistics for search

Last Updated

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Search.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/search. Accessed 16 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for search

search

verb
How to pronounce search (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to carefully look for someone or something : to try to find someone or something
: to carefully look for someone or something in (something)
: to carefully look through the clothing of (someone) for something that may be hidden

search

noun

English Language Learners Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

: an attempt to find someone or something : the act or process of looking for someone or something
: an attempt to find information in a database, network, Web site, etc., by using a computer program

search

verb
\ ˈsərch How to pronounce search (audio) \
searched; searching

Kids Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to go through or look around carefully and thoroughly in an effort to find something … she searched the nearby shore for signs of an intruder.— E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
2 : to carefully look for someone or something
3 : to look in the pockets or the clothing of (someone) for something hidden

search

noun

Kids Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of looking for someone or something

search

noun

Legal Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an exploratory investigation (as of an area or person) by a government agent that intrudes on an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy and is conducted usually for the purpose of finding evidence of unlawful activity or guilt or to locate a person warrantless searches are invalid unless they fall within narrowly drawn exceptionsState v. Mahone, 701 P.2d 171 (1985) — see also exigent circumstances, plain view sense 2, probable cause at cause sense 2, reasonable suspicion, search warrant at warrant — compare seizure

Note: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and requires that a warrant may issue only upon probable cause and that the warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched. Some searches, such as a search incident to an arrest, have been held to be valid without a warrant.

administrative search
: an inspection or search carried out under a regulatory or statutory scheme especially in public or commercial premises and usually to enforce compliance with regulations or laws pertaining to health, safety, or security one of the fundamental principles of administrative searches is that the government may not use an administrative inspection scheme as a pretext to search for evidence of criminal violationsPeople v. Madison, 520 N.E.2d 374 (1988)

called also administrative inspection, inspection, regulatory search

— see also probable cause at cause sense 2

Note: The U.S. Supreme Court held in Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967), that a reasonable administrative search may be conducted upon a showing of probable cause which is less stringent than that required for a search incident to a criminal investigation. The Court stated that the reasonableness of the search can only be determined by “balancing the need to search against the invasion which the search entails.” Cases following Camara have stated that the probable cause requirement is fulfilled by showing that the search meets reasonable administrative standards established in a nonarbitrary regulatory scheme.

border search
: a search made of a person upon crossing into the U.S. at a border or its equivalent (as the airport at which the person arrives in the U.S.)

Note: Probable cause is not required for a border search.

consent search
: a warrantless search conducted upon the voluntarily given consent of a person having authority over the place or things to be searched
inventory search
: a warrantless search (as of an impounded automobile) conducted for the purpose of placing personal property in safekeeping to prevent loss of the property and claims against police for such loss
protective search
: a search (as a frisk) conducted by a law enforcement officer for the purpose of ensuring against threats to safety (as from a concealed weapon) or sometimes to prevent the destruction of evidence
regulatory search
: administrative search in this entry
shakedown search \ ˈshāk-​ˌdau̇n-​ \
: a search for illicit or contraband material (as weapons or drugs) in prisoners' cells that is usually random and warrantless

Note: In Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517 (1984), the U.S. Supreme Court held that Fourth Amendment protections do not extend to searches of prisoners' cells.

strip search
: a search for something concealed on a person conducted after removal of the person's clothing
2 : an act of boarding and inspecting a ship on the high seas in exercise of the right to do so under international law (as in time of war)
3 : an examination of a public record or registry — see also title search

Legal Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

: to conduct a search of search the premises search a person search a title

intransitive verb

: to conduct a search search for drugs in a school locker

Other Words from search

searcher noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on search

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for search

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with search

Spanish Central: Translation of search

Nglish: Translation of search for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of search for Arabic Speakers

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