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

At one point, for example (according to statements made to the FBI) both Burkle and the Hollywood power-agent Michael Ovitz were paying Pellicano to investigate each other. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Why It Makes Perfect Sense That Billionaire Ron Burkle Would Buy The Enquirer," 11 Apr. 2019 Some school districts go to great lengths to investigate potential breaches of residency. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Access to Education for Black Children Proves Difficult for Their Parents, Creating a Disadvantage," 13 Mar. 2019 People in the program undergo four weeks of lectures and training at CDC Atlanta, nicknamed epidemiology boot camp, and then can be deployed to locations around the world to investigate urgent outbreaks on the ground. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Disease Detectives," 7 Mar. 2019 The Dutch Netherlands Defence Safety Inspection agency is investigating the incident. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Dutch F-16 Flew Into Its Own Gunfire," 8 Apr. 2019 The Baltimore City Police received an anonymous phone call advising them to investigate Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for the murder. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of The Case Against Adnan Syed," 31 Mar. 2019 States like Georgia are also investigating their large potential for offshore wind. Umair Irfan, Vox, "4 maps that show who’s being left behind in America’s wind-power boom," 28 Mar. 2019 On one side is Bezos, owner of the liberal-leaning, Trump-investigating Washington Post. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "What Does Gavin de Becker Actually Do for Jeff Bezos?," 8 Feb. 2019 The seven suspects, whose ages ranged from 21 to 34, appeared before an investigating judge Friday at a closed-door hearing and their detention was extended until next week. Mike Corder, Fox News, "Dutch raids neutralized extremists' threat, authorities say," 28 Sep. 2018

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

17 May 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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