in·​spect in-ˈspekt How to pronounce inspect (audio)
inspected; inspecting; inspects

transitive verb

: to view closely in critical appraisal : look over
: to examine officially
inspects the barracks every Friday
inspective adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for inspect

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 inspect in a Sentence

She had the car inspected by a mechanic before she bought it. The candles are inspected for damage before being packaged. After the storm, we went outside to inspect the damage. He inspected the soldiers' barracks. inspecting a restaurant for health code violations
Recent Examples on the Web Palestinian citizens inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on their homes on December 03, 2023, in Khan Yunis, Gaza. CBS News, 3 Dec. 2023 According to Pieper, who drew from the accounts of élite athletes and the correspondence of sports administrators of the time, doctors visually inspected the genitals of athletes and, in at least one track tournament, also manually manipulated them. S. C. Cornell, The New Yorker, 2 Dec. 2023 The regulator inspected two firms following the agreement, KPMG Huazhen LLP in mainland China and PwC in Hong Kong. Lionel Lim, Fortune, 1 Dec. 2023 When Japan seized east-central China in 1937, including the area around Shanghai, the Nationalist Chinese government could no longer inspect visas at the city’s riverfront docks. Javier C. Hernández, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2023 In March, staffers inspecting the Chickasaw County jail in rural northeastern Mississippi found serious violations. Isabelle Taft, ProPublica, 13 Nov. 2023 Race officials inspected the course, which resulted in a 2 1/2-hour delay for the second session, which began at 2:30 a.m. local time Friday. CBS News, 18 Nov. 2023 The conditions did not raise any apparent alarm bells among state officials who regularly inspected the site. Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 In such cases, the agency has called that housing a temporary labor camp that gives it jurisdiction to inspect. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, 13 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inspect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin inspectus, past participle of inspicere, from in- + specere to look — more at spy

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of inspect was circa 1623

Dictionary Entries Near inspect

Cite this Entry

“Inspect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​spect in-ˈspekt How to pronounce inspect (audio)
: to examine closely (as for judging quality or condition)
inspect meat
: to view and examine officially
inspect the troops

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: to view closely and critically
: to examine officially
inspect the facility for code violations

intransitive verb

: to make an inspection

More from Merriam-Webster on inspect

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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