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

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 Sweterlitsch opens in the 20th-century with a time-traveling NCIS agent named Shannon Moss who is tasked with investigating a particularly gruesome murder. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Robert Mueller was then put in charge of investigating Russia’s role in the election. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "The Russia Investigation Is Almost Over. Here's What You Need to Know," 8 Dec. 2018 At least one publication, BuzzFeed News, began investigating Amet’s allegations in 2016, but did not publish a story until this week. Anna North, Vox, "The sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, explained," 6 Dec. 2018 CrowdStrike, which was called in to investigate the Russian government’s 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, had already been retained by the NRCC when the intrusion was discovered in April, Politico said. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Thousands of sensitive emails stolen in intrusion of Republican campaign arm," 4 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

8 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 \
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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