probe

noun
\ ˈprōb How to pronounce probe (audio) \

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 committee could also petition a federal judge to release protected grand jury materials gathered in the probe, which underpin many of the key sections that Justice Department officials redacted from Mueller's report. Mike Debonis, Anchorage Daily News, "House authorizes going to court to force attorney general and former Trump counsel to comply with subpoenas," 11 June 2019 The probe, which began in August 2018, has generated 16 cases that NIH deemed egregious enough to notify the inspector general of its parent body, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Powerful U.S. senator calls for vetting NIH grantees at hearing on foreign influences," 6 June 2019 The officer pulled out his stun gun and fired, but Vasquez separated the wires from the probes, stood up and moved toward the officer, according to police. Dallas News, "Fort Worth officer shot burglary suspect who threatened him, police say," 6 June 2019 Over the course of the panel's Russia probe, numerous administration officials have successfully dodged congressional subpoenas to appear before the body, claiming executive privilege. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "House Judiciary to hold series of hearings on Mueller report," 3 June 2019 The probe is looking into alleged financial misconduct of the kind that Mr. North has raised in the internal battles. Mark Maremont, WSJ, "New York Attorney General Probes NRA as Oliver North Exits as President," 27 Apr. 2019 At its closest approach in 2024, the probe is due to get within 6.2 million kilometers of the Sun's surface. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "There’s a new record-holder for closest human object to the Sun," 30 Oct. 2018 FEMA Deputy Regional Administrator Ahsha Tribble was relieved of her duties and placed on administrative leave last week amid a continuing probe by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, these people said. ... Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "FEMA Official Probed Over Puerto Rico Power Restoration," 24 May 2019 Instead, a probe scans the sample and produces a topographical map of its surface with nanoscale resolution. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Just pee in a cup for bladder cancer detection," 10 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The city has also brought in the FBI to probe multiple slayings involving black transgender women, including last month’s murder of Muhlaysia Booker, 22, who was found fatally shot on a Far East Dallas roadway. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Dozens gather to remember 13-year-old slain in Pleasant Grove as Dallas' violent crime surge continues," 5 June 2019 Last year, Contra Costa officials hired an independent investigator to probe allegations that Kramer made inappropriate comments to two of his employees. Matthias Gafni, SFChronicle.com, "Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer accused of creating hostile workplace, may face removal," 5 June 2019 His Royal Highness asked some probing questions and demonstrated a real grasp of our mission. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince William Reveals He's Gone Undercover with UK Spy Agencies," 7 Apr. 2019 His Royal Highness asked some probing questions and demonstrated a real grasp of our mission. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside Prince William's Top Secret Internship at Britain's Intelligence Agencies," 6 Apr. 2019 The city hasn’t paid, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing the incident. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Cyberattack Hobbles Baltimore for Two Weeks and Counting," 21 May 2019 Assigned to probe the cold case in 2005, Hartford police Detective Andrew Jacobson said a tip from the public could be what is needed to find the killer. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "After 33 Years, Hartford Police Are Still Asking: Who Killed Raquel Ramirez?," 26 June 2018 Another sign those relations could soon be more strained: On Wednesday, Cagle filled out the membership of a study committee to probe whether a new state board should oversee the airport. Jeremy Redmon, ajc, "Atlanta mayor won’t rule out canceling agreement to hold ICE detainees," 21 June 2018 Mark Goldman, Arpaio's attorney, urges Sessions to either quickly appoint a special counsel to probe the allegations or direct the Inspector General's Office to investigate the department. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Joe Arpaio asks AG Jeff Sessions to investigate his 2016 defeat in sheriff's race," 21 June 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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Statistics for probe

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce probe (audio) \

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 How to pronounce probe (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on probe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with probe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for probe

Spanish Central: Translation of probe

Nglish: Translation of probe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probe for Arabic Speakers

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