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

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 Many Democrats have called Whitaker to withdraw from the probe being handled by Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors, citing derogatory comments that Whitaker made about the inquiry before joining the department. Eric Tucker, The Seattle Times, "Justice legal opinion backs Whitaker’s naming as acting AG," 14 Nov. 2018 In absence of other evidence, this natural theory seems more plausible than a visit from an alien probe. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A powerful NASA telescope looked for ‘Oumuamua and didn’t find it," 14 Nov. 2018 None of this is surprising, because the FBI probe was never really intended to unearth the truth about Kavanaugh. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The FBI Report Doesn't Clear Kavanaugh. It Just Clears Republicans' Consciences.," 4 Oct. 2018 The intelligence committee’s investigation was separate from the probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "House Republicans vote to release Russia probe transcripts, plan subpoena for Fusion GPS co-founder," 28 Sep. 2018 Strzok, a deputy assistant director at the FBI who oversaw counterintelligence cases, was removed from the Trump probe by Mueller in July 2017. BostonGlobe.com, "FBI agent Strzok feuds with GOP critics at hearing," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a ten-year study, the DCO probed beneath the Earth's surface at locations across the globe, finding that the underground biosphere extends some three miles deep. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Vast Ecosystem of Underground Organisms Holds More Life Than Earth's Oceans," 11 Dec. 2018 In 2017, the House Ethics Committee probed the congressman at the behest of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "New York Rep. Christopher Collins indicted on insider trading charges," 9 Aug. 2018 Telecommunications companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T were also probed to identify users and provide location data and communications content by law enforcement over 500,000 times last year. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Law enforcement is requesting more digital evidence from tech companies," 26 July 2018 Deadline first reported Friday that the office was probing the case. Gus Garcia-roberts, latimes.com, "D.A.'s office reviewing sex abuse case against ex-Hollywood agent Tyler Grasham," 28 Apr. 2018 Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "The total contradiction at the heart of Mike Pompeo's answer on Donald Trump and Russia," 12 Apr. 2018 Prominent experts have been probing those precise issues in the wake of the University of Washington’s research. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The Gap Between Male and Female Birth Control, In One Example," 27 Mar. 2018 Provided their spacecraft stays healthy and funded, the Juno team is contemplating additional measurements that could further probe Jupiter’s interior, such as monitoring tidal bulges raised by large moons whipping around the planet. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Juno Peers Deep into Jupiter's Abyss to Reveal Weird Winds," 7 Mar. 2018 The lawmakers acknowledged in making the announcement that the Justice Department’s internal watchdog was already probing the FISA issue at the behest of Sessions. Mike Memoli, NBC News, "House Republicans seek special prosecutor for FISA requests," 6 Mar. 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

12 Jan 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

Comments on probe

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