investigate

verb
in·​ves·​ti·​gate | \ in-ˈve-stə-ˌgāt \
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 \ noun
investigative \ in-​ˈve-​stə-​ˌgā-​tiv \ adjective
investigator \ in-​ˈve-​stə-​ˌgā-​tər \ noun
investigatory \ in-​ˈve-​sti-​gə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ 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

Researchers collected survey data from 962 women in the United States to investigate their relationship between sleep and pet ownership status. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Women Sleep Better With Their Dogs Than Their Partners, Study Says," 29 Dec. 2018 The Leave campaign has been investigated, however, by the UK Electoral Commission over its use of funds and data. Rachel Withers, Vox, "Brits want an official investigation into the Brexit Leave campaign. They’re getting an HBO drama instead.," 15 Dec. 2018 What Gold and her peers didn’t know was that the school had been investigated by the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board for deceptive practices. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Former Seattle student suing DeVos over student debt incurred at deceptive for-profit school," 28 Nov. 2018 Cruz was investigated by social services and mental health professionals in 2016 after disturbing Snapchat videos belonging to him were uncovered — but the teen avoided hospitalization and was deemed not to be a threat to himself or others. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Nikolas Cruz indicted on 17 counts of murder, jail records reveal odd behavior in days after Florida massacre," 2 Oct. 2018 The team later found his actual ID, from the Republic of Congo, in the man's shoe and he's now being investigated by the CBP. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Biometrics Worked! U.S. Border Patrol Celebrates Success of Early Tech," 24 Aug. 2018 Because he is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is being sued by investors, and may well end up costing the company (or himself) hundreds of millions of dollars in damages? Casey Newton, The Verge, "Google’s ambitions for China could trigger a crisis inside the company," 18 Aug. 2018 The email complained about near misses that frequently weren’t investigated properly or even ignore, and about backup drivers who lacked proper training and vetting. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Uber manager raised concerns about self-driving program just days before fatal collision," 11 Dec. 2018 Sethi shared an excerpt of his book with Teen Vogue: A testimonial from Taylor Dumpson, the former student body president whose first full day in office included an incident that would be investigated as a hate crime. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Arjun Singh Sethi's American Hate Gave Hate Crime Survivors Like Taylor Dumpson the Chance to Tell Their Own Stories," 11 Dec. 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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Last Updated

11 Jan 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 \
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 \
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 \ noun
investigative \ in-​ˈves-​tə-​ˌgā-​tiv \ adjective
investigator \ -​ˌgā-​tər \ noun
investigatory \ in-​ˈves-​tə-​gə-​ˌtōr-​ē \ adjective

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