probe

noun
\ ˈprōb \

Definition of probe 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slender medical instrument used especially for exploration (as of a wound or body cavity)

2a : any of various testing devices or substances: such as

(1) : a pointed metal tip for making electrical contact with a circuit element being checked

(2) : a usually small object that is inserted into something so as to test conditions at a given point

(3) : a device used to penetrate or send back information especially from outer space or a celestial body

(4) : a device (such as an ultrasound generator) or a substance (such as radioactively labeled DNA) used to obtain specific information for diagnostic or experimental purposes

b : a pipe on the receiving airplane thrust into the drogue of the delivering airplane in air refueling

3a : the action of probing

b : a penetrating or critical investigation

c : a tentative exploratory advance or survey

probe

verb
probed; probing

Definition of probe (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to search into and explore very thoroughly : subject to a penetrating investigation

2 : to examine with a probe unmanned vehicles probed space

intransitive verb

: to make a searching exploratory investigation

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Other words from probe

Verb

prober noun

Choose the Right Synonym for probe

Verb

enter, penetrate, pierce, probe mean to make way into something. enter is the most general of these and may imply either going in or forcing a way in. entered the city in triumph penetrate carries a strong implication of an impelling force or compelling power that achieves entrance. the enemy penetrated the fortress pierce means an entering or cutting through with a sharp pointed instrument. pierced the boil with a lancet probe implies penetration to investigate or explore something hidden from sight or knowledge. probed the depths of the sea

Examples of probe in a Sentence

Noun

The FBI probe did not produce any new evidence. a congressional probe into the accusations

Verb

His questions made it clear he was probing for information. He didn't like the police probing into his past. He didn't like the police probing him about his past. The doctor probed the wound with his finger. Searchers probed the mud with long poles. She probed the files for evidence that would help the investigation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The officer in question has been placed on desk duty as an internal investigation progresses, a local congressman called for a federal probe into the matter and the video prompted multiple calls for the police officer to resign or be fired. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, "Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and government truck," 11 July 2018 The state has opened up an elections probe into the gubernatorial campaign of David Stemerman, who is accused of using out-of-state petition circulators to get onto the primary ballot by a backer of GOP rival Tim Herbst. Neil Vigdor, courant.com, "State To Investigate Elections Complaint Against David Stemerman," 28 June 2018 Other politicians, including Labour peers Peter Mandelson and George Foulkes, have called for a probe into practices revealed by a Bloomberg story on Monday. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit Bulletin: Pandora’s Box," 27 June 2018 The probe into one man's actions soon spread to an inspection of an entire task force charged with keeping drugs off the streets. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "How a McDonald's receipt crippled an elite Louisville drug-fighting team," 18 June 2018 In February 2017, Jawbone said in a California state court filing that Fitbit was facing a criminal probe into its behavior. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Struggling Fitbit now has 5 ex-employees who face criminal charges," 15 June 2018 The United States Department of Justice is taking a closer look at that by opening a criminal probe into price manipulation of Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), according to a report from Bloomberg. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "US Department of Justice is investigating Bitcoin price manipulation," 24 May 2018 But any probe into these abuses must expand into issues of far wider importance. Kevin Baker, The New Republic, "Why America needs truth and reconciliation after Trump," 17 May 2018 A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new indictment in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Devlin Barrett And Matt Zapotosky, chicagotribune.com, "12 Russian intelligence officers charged by Mueller in hack of DNC, Clinton emails," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Newspapers in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Guatemala have probed corruption and helped to bring down presidents or ministers. The Economist, "Latin America’s new media are growing up," 14 July 2018 The series of photos of black men, relentlessly probing and curious, is typical of Mann. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At PEM, Sally Mann stays outside the comfort zone," 12 July 2018 Investigators with Maryland Occupational Safety and Health are probing what led to the death Tuesday of Kyle Hancock in a 15-foot trench in the 2000 block of Sinclair Lane near a recreation center in Northeast Baltimore’s Clifton Park. Nicholas Bogel-burroughs, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore suspends work with contractor after death of man in trench, citing 'life safety concerns'," 11 June 2018 Benedict is essentially a second act to Foxsister, a chance for the duo to probe the local restaurant market and gather intel that will shape future projects. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Brunch gets eggstravagant in the Mission with new pop-up Benedict," 22 June 2018 The council last month voted to probe killings in Gaza and accused Israel of using excessive force. Author: Lesley Wroughton, Steve Holland, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. withdraws from United Nations human rights body," 19 June 2018 The safety agency’s investigators spent a year probing McDonough’s death and writing their report, which presented the incident as a cautionary tale for the 1 million U.S. volunteer and career firefighters. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 Here are some of the most probing passages Bernstein ever penned, the work’s melodic progress at once surprising and inevitable. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018 Its most valuable tool was basic research: Bell’s scientists spent years probing the fundamentals of chemistry, physics, metallurgy, magnetism, and more in their search for discoveries that could be monetized. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'probe.' 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 probe

Noun

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1543, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for probe

Noun

Medieval Latin proba examination, from Latin probare

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Learn More about probe

Phrases Related to probe

space probe

Statistics for probe

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for probe

The first known use of probe was circa 1543

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More Definitions for probe

probe

noun

English Language Learners Definition of probe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a careful examination or investigation of something

: a thin, long instrument that is used especially for examining parts of the body

probe

verb

English Language Learners Definition of probe (Entry 2 of 2)

: to ask a lot of questions in order to find secret or hidden information about someone or something

: to touch or reach into (something) by using your finger, a long tool, etc., in order to see or find something

: to look into or examine (something) carefully

probe

noun
\ ˈprōb \

Kids Definition of probe

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slender instrument for examining a cavity (as a deep wound)

2 : a careful investigation

probe

verb
probed; probing

Kids Definition of probe (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to examine with or as if with an instrument

2 : to investigate thoroughly

probe

noun
\ ˈprōb \

Medical Definition of probe 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a surgical instrument that consists typically of a light slender fairly flexible pointed metal instrument like a small rod that is used typically for locating a foreign body (as a bullet embedded in a part of the body), for exploring a wound or suppurative tract by prodding or piercing, or for penetrating and exploring bodily passages and cavities

2 : a device (as an ultrasound generator) or a substance (as radioactively labeled DNA) used to obtain specific information (as detection of a virus or location of specific segments of a nucleic acid) for diagnostic or experimental purposes the radioactive probe revealed the distribution of molecules in the membrane

probe

verb
probed; probing

Medical Definition of probe (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to examine with or as if with a probe probe a wound

intransitive verb

: to search by using a probe probe for a bullet

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Comments on probe

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