ex·plor·ato·ry | \ik-ˈsplȯr-ə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Definition of exploratory 

: of, relating to, or being exploration exploratory surgery exploratory drilling for oil

Examples of exploratory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Please's food is exploratory, boundary-crossing, incautious. Polly Campbell, Cincinnati.com, "The best restaurant of 2017 is ...," 11 Jan. 2018 The high point came in 2015, when the two sides actually met in person near Islamabad, Pakistan, for exploratory talks. Rod Nordland And Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "Taliban’s Rare Silence on Talks Charges Up a New Peace Conference," 27 Mar. 2018 In fact, however, many meetings or conversations are exploratory in nature. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Magic Mailbag: What’s the deal with Orlando’s point guard situation?," 12 July 2018 Taylor gave birth in March, so Taurasi is very much in the exploratory parenting stage, getting a kick out of the fact that little Leo can, among other things, poop all over his own neck. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Diana Taurasi Still Putting On Shows In Connecticut," 14 July 2018 Their narcissism is repellent yet riveting, and Mr. Côté comes at his subjects with an artful, exploratory obliqueness that’s endearingly curious, as if discovering a whole new species. Denis Côté, New York Times, "Review: Six Strongmen Cultivate ‘A Skin So Soft’," 5 July 2018 After an exploratory expedition of the Carolina coast, some 100 men disembarked in 1585 on a small island within the Outer Banks, only to desert their primitive fort for England when fresh supplies from home didn’t arrive. A. Roger Ekirch, WSJ, "‘The Secret Token’ Review: America’s First Unsolved Mystery," 17 June 2018 The voluntarily underemployed tended to come from families with money, and many did not consider the decision to be a temporary exploratory detour but, rather, a permanent path. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "Why settling for a subpar job right out of college can hurt your career for years," 13 June 2018 The stars bring effortless believability as gently exploratory 16-year-olds Conrad and Grace, who become close over a summer in which Grace loses her older brother Eric in a car accident. Robert Abele, latimes.com, "'All Summers End' wastes strong cast with bad choices," 31 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of exploratory

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exploratory

Share exploratory

Phrases Related to exploratory

exploratory surgery

Statistics for exploratory

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exploratory

The first known use of exploratory was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for exploratory



English Language Learners Definition of exploratory

: done or created to find something or to learn more about something


ex·plor·ato·ry | \ik-ˈsplōr-ə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˈsplȯr-, -ˌtȯr- \

Medical Definition of exploratory 

: of, relating to, or being exploration exploratory surgery

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on exploratory

What made you want to look up exploratory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!