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
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 No arrests have been made, and LMPD's major crimes division is investigating. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Coroner identifies Louisville man found shot to death off South Park Road," 7 Jan. 2020 The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Inmate found unconscious is federal judge's nephew, was awaiting extradition on prescription drug charge," 7 Jan. 2020 The Washington County Major Crimes Team is investigating the shooting. oregonlive, "Officers involved in fatal Hillsboro shooting identified," 7 Jan. 2020 The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. Lauren Artino And Erin Couch, Cincinnati.com, "‘One of the worst we have seen’: Around 50 neglected animals found in apparent hoarding situation at Clermont Co. home," 6 Jan. 2020 The Department of Natural Resources is investigating, according to the Associated Press. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "South Carolina man, 9-year-old daughter killed in hunting accident," 3 Jan. 2020 The Arizona Department of Public Safety Special Investigations Unit is investigating the incident, and more information will be released as the investigation nears completion. Chase Hunter, azcentral, "Globe police officer fatally shoots man holding knife on New Year's Eve," 3 Jan. 2020 The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a shooting that occurred in the area of St. Clair Street and North Belmont Avenue. Indianapolis Star, "3 people shot on Indy’s near west side," 1 Jan. 2020 The Associated Press, supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is investigating the global spread of opioids and its consequences. Washington Post, "Want OxyContin in China? Pain pill addicts get drugs online," 31 Dec. 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

15th century, 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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Time Traveler for investigate

Time Traveler

The first known use of investigate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for investigate

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Investigate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/investigatory. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for investigate

investigate

verb
How to pronounce investigate (audio)

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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