probe

noun
\ ˈprōb How to pronounce probe (audio) \
plural probes

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; probes

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 uncrewed vehicles probed space

intransitive verb

: to make a searching exploratory investigation

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The company said its future earnings could be materially hit by the investigations, which include the DOJ’s inquiry as well as a probe launched by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Justin Baer, WSJ, 20 Sep. 2021 Nuru was arrested and charged by federal officials last year for an alleged attempt to bribe a San Francisco airport commissioner in a probe that has since exposed a sprawling pay-to-play and corruption scheme within City Hall. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Sep. 2021 The proposal also would prohibit ComEd from forcing customers to pay for any criminal penalties associated with an ongoing federal corruption probe. Dan Petrella, chicagotribune.com, 10 Sep. 2021 The Justice Department launched pattern and practice investigations earlier this year in Minneapolis, Louisville and Phoenix but has not said whether it’s considering a similar probe in Louisiana. Melinda Deslatte, Chron, 10 Sep. 2021 Rosa Cameron, Jeff Pawlinski and Paul Henningsen were all indicted and sent to prison in the early 2000s as part of a corruption probe at City Hall. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Sep. 2021 These include big shortages in the Public Integrity Bureau, which is down so many investigators that the average time to complete a misconduct probe is now eight months. David Mcfadden, baltimoresun.com, 7 Sep. 2021 Also under scrutiny, according to those familiar with the probe, is why the state police failed to provide the body camera video and even the most basic police reports for the official autopsy. Jim Mustian And Jake Bleiberg, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Aug. 2021 Lawyers familiar with the probe, in which more than 565 have been charged, say Moss’s fast-tracking of the question may help create legal certainty in the long run. Washington Post, 28 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The charges were brought by special counsel John Durham, who was appointed by former Attorney General Bill Barr in 2019 to probe the origins of the Russia investigation. Robert Legare, CBS News, 17 Sep. 2021 Further information was unavailable as ALEA’s highway patrol division continued to probe the incident. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 13 Sep. 2021 Piucci said such a system, where investigators probe incidents involving their colleagues, is inherently flawed and favors police. oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2021 The contents reportedly included emails, text messages, and photos purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden -- marking another effort by Giuliani to probe the business dealings of the Biden family. Olivia Rubin, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2021 An Alabama death from January 2020 is among four being investigated as the country’s first connected to COVID-19 as the CDC continues to probe the origins of the coronavirus in America, according to a report. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 10 Sep. 2021 On the other hand, science is also a process for testing, inquiring, refining, and reproducing results that will probe and reveal further information about the Universe, beyond what is presently known. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021 The committee was set up to probe alleged extrajudicial killings in the three months since Duterte became president. CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 Her study set out to probe the extent to which FBI enforcement deters white-collar crime. Jay Fitzgerald, Quartz, 2 Sep. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of probe

Noun

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

History and Etymology for probe

Noun

Medieval Latin proba examination, from Latin probare

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About probe

Time Traveler for probe

Time Traveler

The first known use of probe was circa 1542

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near probe

probatum

probe

probeagle

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for probe

Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Probe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/probe. Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on probe

Nglish: Translation of probe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probe for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!