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 investigate (audio) \ noun
investigative \ in-​ˈve-​stə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce investigate (audio) \ adjective
investigatory \ in-​ˈve-​sti-​gə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce investigate (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 Last week, the Senate gave resounding approval to legislation that would more forcefully investigate hate crimes, focusing on bias against Asian Americans as new polling shows pervasive fears of violence during the coronavirus pandemic. Washington Post, "An Asian man said a firefighter attacked him. It sparked a reckoning in small-town Arkansas.," 26 Apr. 2021 The emergency room does not investigate abuse but, as required, reports it to Children’s Services and law enforcement agencies. The Enquirer, "COVID-19 aftermath: Is child abuse going unnoticed due to pandemic isolation, weariness?," 26 Apr. 2021 The state election board can also now investigate county election boards and has the power to suspend county election superintendents – though the board can only suspend four at a time. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Biden to rally in Atlanta despite supporting players' MLB Georgia boycott," 26 Apr. 2021 Rangers will investigate if Arihara was giving anything away by tipping his pitches. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Rangers P Kohei Arihara lacked effectiveness in loss to White Sox, but possible pitch-tipping is a bigger concern," 25 Apr. 2021 Although this is difficult to stop, large media outlets with data bureaus could and should investigate these narratives before repeating and amplifying them. Eric Happel, STAT, "Real-world data, not predictions, should drive decisions on Covid-19 and school opening," 24 Apr. 2021 Instead, officials either doubted the women’s stories, didn’t investigate or didn’t call the police, allowing Guice to continue his football career. Kenny Jacoby, USA TODAY, "LSU to strip Derrius Guice's name from record books, cut ties with longtime law firm after misconduct report," 24 Apr. 2021 The agent and his wife investigate further after discovering environmental damage including salmon large enough to swallow ducks, rabid raccoons, and giant tadpoles. Brooke Knisley, Vulture, "9 Eco-Horror Movies That Will Remind You to Be Nicer to the Earth," 22 Apr. 2021 The position will investigate complaints against Hartford officers separate from the police department. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, "Hartford appoints interim inspector general to investigate police use of force while the search for permanent role continues," 22 Apr. 2021

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

15th century, 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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Time Traveler for investigate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for investigate

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Investigate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/investigate. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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

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Comments on investigate

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