ex·​am·​ine | \ ig-ˈza-mən How to pronounce examine (audio) \
examined; examining\ ig-​ˈzam-​niŋ How to pronounce examining (audio) , -​ˈza-​mə-​ \

Definition of examine

transitive verb

1a : to inspect closely
b : to test the condition of
c : to inquire into carefully : investigate
2a : to interrogate closely examine a prisoner
b : to test by questioning in order to determine progress, fitness, or knowledge

intransitive verb

: to make or give an examination

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Other Words from examine

examinable \ ig-​ˈza-​mə-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce examinable (audio) \ adjective
examiner \ ig-​ˈzam-​nər How to pronounce examiner (audio) , -​ˈza-​mə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for examine

scrutinize, scan, inspect, examine mean to look at or over. scrutinize stresses close attention to minute detail. scrutinized the hospital bill scan implies a surveying from point to point often suggesting a cursory overall observation. scanned the wine list inspect implies scrutinizing for errors or defects. inspected my credentials examine suggests a scrutiny in order to determine the nature, condition, or quality of a thing. examined the specimens

Examples of examine in a Sentence

An accountant has been hired to examine the company's books. The police examined the evidence carefully. You should have your eyes examined. He was examined by several doctors, who found nothing wrong with him.
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Recent Examples on the Web But the university hasn’t specifically asked the council to examine the names of other buildings. Henri Gendreau, Washington Post, "Racial reckoning draws in namesakes of Virginia Tech’s past," 11 July 2020 The time is now to examine, and reexamine, trade secrecy’s hold on information and our collective health. David S. Levine, STAT, "Covid-19 should spark a reexamination of trade secrets’ stranglehold on information," 10 July 2020 The intention behind it was to talk about how similar these foods were, to examine the history of these countries, and to talk about recipes from the perspective of these grandmothers who are oftentimes the backbone of these countries and families. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Hawa Hassan will put Somali food in the spotlight — on her own terms," 6 July 2020 Utilities nationwide have begun to examine whether sewage can provide more compelling information about COVID-19 outbreaks. Fox News, "New York City may test sewage for coronavirus: report," 2 July 2020 Congress has already approved more than $2.2 billion to support COVID-19-related research and vaccine development, and the senators suggested that some of that funding could be used to examine the possible connection. David Levinsky, USA TODAY, "Does PFAS exposure make you more vulnerable to coronavirus? NJ senator wants a study to find out," 1 July 2020 Phase 2 expands the pool to several hundred people, continues to look for safety issues and side effects, and starts to examine whether the vaccine evokes an immune response. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, "Where Should Covid-19 Vaccines Be Tested? It's a Moving Target," 1 July 2020 Today encourages you to examine what material possessions and wealth really mean. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 30 June 2020 The scientists used these observations to examine what causes the green glow and found that the light comes from oxygen atoms that were stripped from carbon dioxide. NBC News, "In the atmosphere of Mars, a green glow offers scientists hints for future visits," 16 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'examine.' 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 examine

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

History and Etymology for examine

Middle English, from Anglo-French examiner, from Latin examinare, from examen

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Time Traveler for examine

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for examine

Last Updated

26 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Examine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/examine. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for examine


How to pronounce examine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of examine

: to look at (something) closely and carefully in order to learn more about it, to find problems, etc.
: to test or look carefully at (something or someone) for signs of illness or injury
law : to question (someone) closely


ex·​am·​ine | \ ig-ˈza-mən How to pronounce examine (audio) \
examined; examining

Kids Definition of examine

1 : to look at or check carefully He had his eyes examined.
2 : to question closely The police examined a witness.


ex·​am·​ine | \ ig-ˈzam-ən How to pronounce examine (audio) \
examined; examining\ -​(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce examining (audio) \

Medical Definition of examine

transitive verb

: to inspect or test for evidence of disease or abnormality the doctor examined the young men and found them in perfect health

intransitive verb

: to make or give an examination the doctor will examine at the infirmary

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examined; examining

Legal Definition of examine

1 : to investigate or inspect closely examine the title — compare audit
2 : to question closely especially in a court proceeding — compare depose

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More from Merriam-Webster on examine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for examine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with examine

Spanish Central: Translation of examine

Nglish: Translation of examine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of examine for Arabic Speakers

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