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

Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the behest of U.S. authorities investigating fraud related to sales to Iran. Dan Strumpf, WSJ, "Silicon Valley Helped Build Huawei. Washington Could Dismantle It.," 9 Dec. 2018 The problem is that none of those discoveries has stood up to the scrutiny of other scientists investigating the same sites. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Huge, previously unknown impact crater found beneath Greenland’s ice," 18 Nov. 2018 Pictures show several tugboat-type ships standing by, plus an anchor-handling vessel investigating the sea bottom underneath the ship along with a Hugin 6000 autonomous unmannned undersea vehicle. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Wrecked Norwegian Frigate Is Pretty Much Toast," 13 Nov. 2018 Her model can produce a list of potentially risky animals, but if no one investigates them firsthand, the prediction is just a prediction. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 It was revealed earlier this year that Horowitz’s office was investigating allegations of government surveillance abuse tied to the start of the Russia probe. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Peter Strzok grilled for hours on Capitol Hill over any involvement in start of Russia probe," 2 Oct. 2018 Curiosity has stood down from all science operations while the mission team investigates the problem. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Rover Team Confident Curiosity Will Bounce Back from Glitch," 22 Sep. 2018 The beach is closed until further notice while authorities investigate the cause of the collapse, according to the Port Authority of Zakynthos. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Landslide Injures Tourists at Greece's Famous 'Shipwreck' Beach," 14 Sep. 2018 The official Dolce & Gabbana account also posted that it had been hacked and was investigating. Vogue, "Dolce & Gabbana Cancels Its Shanghai Great Show Amid Controversy," 21 Nov. 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

13 Dec 2018

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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