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

This problem was most likely caused by a manufacturing defect, probably an errant drill hole, but the Russians are still investigating the accident. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Dramatic footage of Soyuz accident shows rocket booster collision," 1 Nov. 2018 In 2014, Swedish naval forces investigated multiple reports of foreign submarine activity, and Stockholm confirmed that a unidentified foreign submarine had in fact infiltrated—and left—its waters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Mystery Submarine Spotted in Swedish Waters," 29 Oct. 2018 While the couple continues to clash, Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) and his partner, Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez) are investigating a devastating scene. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Next Week's 'Blue Bloods' Episode Reveals That Frank Reagan Is Battling a Serious Lawsuit," 26 Oct. 2018 During that time, the two spacecraft will investigate a range of questions about Mercury. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "BepiColombo, the First Mercury Mission in 14 Years, Launches Tonight — Watch Live!," 19 Oct. 2018 Democrats, meanwhile, urged to delay the vote in order to have the FBI investigate Dr. Ford’s claims. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Does Jeff Flake's Vote Mean? Brett Kavanaugh Is Still in the Running, For Now," 28 Sep. 2018 Royal fans have investigated why Prince George, shorts enthusiast, never wears full-length trousers; but what about his little sister Princess Charlotte? Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Princess Charlotte Is Always Wearing Dresses," 3 Aug. 2018 Boston police are investigating the incident but did not have further details about the circumstances of the crash. Felicia Gans, BostonGlobe.com, "SUV ends up on top of car in Roxbury crash," 14 July 2018 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has investigated more than 2,000 cases of cyclosporiasis since 2000. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "McDonald’s Removes Salads Linked to Intestinal Parasite Outbreak in Midwest," 13 July 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

15 Nov 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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