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

Before its death, the probe sent back all sorts of data on the atmosphere and rings of Saturn. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Saturn's Rings Are Much Younger Than You Might Think," 18 Jan. 2019 In January, SpaceX launched a classified spy satellite for some unknown government agency — but soon afterward, reports surfaced that the probe fell out of orbit and burned up in Earth’s atmosphere. Loren Grush, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: SpaceX," 29 Dec. 2018 Other Tesla probes from the SEC and DOJ were disclosed by the company in its third quarter filing, and the company nearly ran out of cash. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Elon Musk is the first influencer CEO," 21 Dec. 2018 Buy Photo The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office launched a probe Friday into allegations that Temple University’s business school knowingly provided false data over several years to improve its rankings and lure more applicants. Susan Snyder, Philly.com, "AG's office opens probe into Temple business school scandal," 13 July 2018 The texts were discovered during the Justice Department inspector general's probe of the Clinton email investigation. Devlin Barrett And Karoun Demirjian, chicagotribune.com, "Maligned FBI agent denies accusations of bias against Trump before House committees," 12 July 2018 Its probe damaged Washington’s relationship with Mr. Najib, according to officials in both countries, helping drive Malaysia into Beijing’s arms. Bradley Hope, WSJ, "WSJ Investigation: China Offered to Bail Out Troubled Malaysian Fund in Return for Deals," 7 Jan. 2019 Since then, Mueller’s team has praised Flynn’s cooperation with their probe and said that a low sentence with no prison time would be appropriate for Flynn. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "New tension between Flynn and Mueller as Flynn’s sentencing approaches," 14 Dec. 2018 Boeing recovered a sliver of its recent losses as investigators in Indonesia discussed their probe into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8. Marley Jay, The Seattle Times, "Stocks surge as Powell hints at slower interest rate hikes," 28 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Members of Congress from both parties in 2011 called for an investigation into the way administrative judges determine whether an applicant qualifies for disability benefits and federal prosecutors began probing the practices of specific judges. Eric Morath, WSJ, "America’s Hidden Workforce Returns," 26 Jan. 2019 The company made its disclosure in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has been probing the phone location-tracking market. Washington Post, "APNewsBreak: Verizon to end location data sales to brokers," 19 June 2018 New York state began probing the Trump Foundation in response to an investigation by The Washington Post. BostonGlobe.com, "N.Y. attorney general alleges ‘persistently illegal’ conduct at Trump Foundation," 14 June 2018 Europe has also been much more aggressive than the United States in antitrust enforcement in tech, probing Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Notice all those privacy policy alerts and emails you’re getting? You can thank Europe for that.," 23 May 2018 On Sunday, the president tweeted his demand for a review of whether law enforcement began probing his campaign for political purposes. Christina Bellantoni, latimes.com, "Russia probe might have an end date, but Trump clashes with Justice Department show no signs of letting up," 21 May 2018 Only last week, for instance, did the public learn that Mueller had been probing payments made by Fortune 500 companies to Cohen since at least last fall. Anchorage Daily News, "‘Buckle up’: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing," 14 May 2018 Only last week, for instance, did the public learn that Mueller had been probing payments made by Fortune 500 companies to Cohen since at least last fall. The Seattle Times, "Buckle up’: As Mueller probe enters second year, Trump and allies go on war footing," 13 May 2018 Other options: Salmon: Spring chinook have begun probing the lower Willamette River. Bill Monroe, OregonLive.com, "South Oregon Coast crabbing shut down -- again," 16 Feb. 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

9 Feb 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 \

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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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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