investigate

verb
in·​ves·​ti·​gate | \ in-ˈve-stə-ˌgāt How to pronounce investigate (audio) \
investigated; investigating

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

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Other Words from investigate

investigation \ in-​ˌve-​stə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce investigation (audio) \ noun
investigative \ in-​ˈve-​stə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce investigative (audio) \ adjective
investigatory \ in-​ˈve-​sti-​gə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce investigatory (audio) \ adjective

Examples of investigate in a Sentence

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

Both sides issued open letters, and the Coastal Commission is now investigating the matter. Julia Wick, latimes.com, "Essential California: Golden State Killer case's twisted, painful path," 11 June 2019 For now, the city attorney oversees the office, which investigates allegations of employee misconduct. Jasper Scherer, Houston Chronicle, "Mayoral challenger Bill King lays out ‘ethics reform’ plan," 10 June 2019 ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Hannah Fresques, ProPublica, "“Your Default Position Should Be Skepticism” and Other Advice for Data Journalists From Hadley Wickham," 10 June 2019 The detention of a prominent Russian journalist known for investigating corruption has rattled the media community in the country and highlights the pressure faced by news outlets fighting to preserve their independence. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "Russia Detains Journalist on Drug Charges, Rattling Media Community," 9 June 2019 Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said officers investigating the robbery were able to get a description of the suspect. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Suspect in Birmingham Family Dollar holdup shot twice by police," 9 June 2019 Muskego police are investigating a two-car crash that left one person dead Friday evening. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One person dead after crash in Muskego," 8 June 2019 This was news to Ghaisar’s family, who have had no communication with the FBI or the Justice Department, who are investigating the case. Washington Post, "Lawyers for Park Police officers in Bijan Ghaisar shooting say charging decision coming soon," 8 June 2019 His life is turned upside-down again when detective Delta Devlin appears on his doorstep while investigating a string of murders. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Ars To-Be-Read: Our most anticipated books for the second half of 2019," 8 June 2019

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

circa 1510, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for investigate

Latin investigatus, past participle of investigare to track, investigate, from in- + vestigium footprint, track

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Statistics for investigate

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for investigate

The first known use of investigate was circa 1510

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More Definitions for investigate

investigate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of investigate

: 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)

investigate

verb
in·​ves·​ti·​gate | \ in-ˈve-stə-ˌgāt How to pronounce investigate (audio) \
investigated; investigating

Kids Definition of investigate

: to study by close examination and questioning Police are investigating the crime.

Other Words from investigate

investigator \ -​ˌgā-​tər \ noun

investigate

verb
in·​ves·​ti·​gate | \ in-ˈves-tə-ˌgāt How to pronounce investigate (audio) \
investigated; investigating

Legal Definition of investigate

transitive verb

: to observe or study by close examination and systematic inquiry specifically : to make (a criminal suspect) the subject of inquiry and study for the purpose of establishing probable cause

intransitive verb

: to make a systematic examination especially : to conduct an official inquiry

Other Words from investigate

investigation \ in-​ˌves-​tə-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce investigation (audio) \ noun
investigative \ in-​ˈves-​tə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce investigative (audio) \ adjective
investigator \ -​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce investigator (audio) \ noun
investigatory \ in-​ˈves-​tə-​gə-​ˌtōr-​ē How to pronounce investigatory (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on investigate

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