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
investigator \ in-​ˈve-​stə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce investigator (audio) \ noun
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

The state police task force charged with investigating the shooting is expected to release its final findings in April, USA Today reports. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A black security guard caught a shooting suspect — only to be shot by police minutes later," 23 Jan. 2019 The House Oversight committee has a track record of investigating issues of national significance under leadership from both parties. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, The Seattle Times, "House Dems announce sweeping investigation of drug pricing," 14 Jan. 2019 And over the holiday weekend, intrigue grew as one of the Russian cosmonauts tasked with investigating the hole seemed to agree, according to the Associated Press. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The ISS Hole Came From Inside the Station, Says Cosmonaut," 26 Dec. 2018 After a renown fertility doctor is nearly murdered, Danny Reagan (Donnie Walhberg) and Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez) investigate as to who would want to kill such an honored individual—and why. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "This 'Blue Bloods' Sneak Peek Shows Eddie Janko Dealing with Some Reagan Family Drama," 19 Oct. 2018 The only saving graces at tonight's State of the Union will be Stacey Abrams's issuing of the Democratic response; and the expressions of Speaker Pelosi—the woman in charge of investigating Trump's potential malfeasance—over Trump's shoulder. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "America Doesn't Need the State of the Union Address Anymore—Especially Not From Trump," 5 Feb. 2019 Phoebe Baker, who steps in to help the team investigate brothels. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Former 'Blue Bloods' and 'NCIS' Star Jennifer Esposito Is Joining 'Law & Order: SVU'," 24 Jan. 2019 Pike's mission involves investigating strange signals throughout the galaxy. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Season Two Wants You to Forget About Season One," 18 Jan. 2019 Idris Elba has scored four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role as John Luther, an obsessive, dedicated, and sometimes violent police officer investigating Morgan, a brilliant psychopath and murderer. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "8 TV Shows Like 'Killing Eve' to Binge If You Can't Wait for Season 2," 17 Jan. 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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Last Updated

22 Feb 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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