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

Investigators ended their probes without bringing any charges. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Mayor OK’s Contract to Pay Off His Legal Fees Tied to Probes," 20 Nov. 2018 An official close to the investigation said Wednesday that police in the city of Lyon, where Interpol is headquartered, have closed their probe into the call and Meng’s detention having found no evidence that a crime was committed in France. John Leicester, The Seattle Times, "French police close probe into Interpol disappearance," 14 Nov. 2018 Only days after Warren’s interview, the European Union launched its own antitrust probe into the company’s business tactics. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Amazon’s triumphant pay raise is also a political play," 3 Oct. 2018 On the third day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Democratic senators continued their probe to get the conservative judge's stance on women's reproductive rights—and a clue in one of his answers may say it all. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Brett Kavanaugh Referred to Birth Control as 'Abortion-Inducing Drugs' During Confirmation Hearings," 7 Sep. 2018 Robert Mueller's legal team unveiled its latest allegations as part of its ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and possible obstruction of justice afterward. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Arizona servers used by Russian hackers to monitor Democrats, feds say," 13 July 2018 New information published in a 2017 book prompted federal investigators to reopen their probe of Emmett’s murder, according to two people familiar with the case. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "Emmett Till’s mother opened his casket and sparked the civil rights movement," 12 July 2018 Her art probes what context is necessary for white people to actually see black people’s experiences of the world. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "How Do You Measure a Country?," 1 July 2018 The Galveston County Sheriff's Office conducted the criminal investigation of the shooting, and the district attorney's office conducted its own probe as well. Nick Powell, Houston Chronicle, "League City police officer cleared by grand jury in fatal January shooting," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Liz Peek: Trump won't lose supporters over Manafort, Cohen — despite what liberal media are spewing Howard Kurtz: Trump probes cast shadow on midterms, but control still up for grabs TRUMP VS. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump Organization may face charges over Cohen hush money; Trump vs. Sessions escalates," 24 Aug. 2018 The hearing comes as congressional investigators continue to probe into Department of Justice and FBI oversight after an internal inspector general report criticized leadership at the top levels during the Clinton investigation. CBS News, "FBI's Peter Strzok testifies on anti-Trump bias before House panel -- live updates," 12 July 2018 After Police Got Suspicious As time passed, law enforcement in N.Y.C. started to probe York’s possible involvement in criminal enterprises and if his group was being funded by organized bank robberies and counterfeit checks. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, "4 Things You'll Learn About an Egyptian-Themed Sect Hiding Child Sex Abuse, on Monday's PMI: Cults," 8 July 2018 Bloom, a biologist with the conservancy, used a wooden pole with a rounded end to gently probe below the surface of the meadow hoping to find one of the tiny turtles. John D. Simmons, charlotteobserver, "Tiny turtles face uncertain fate in Gaston County," 29 June 2018 Democrats also say the committee should probe whether the president sought to obstruct justice by impeding the Mueller probe — something Republicans have maintained is outside the committee’s agreed-upon scope of inquiry. Mike Memoli, NBC News, "Democrats issue rebuttal to GOP ‘capitulation’ report on Russia," 13 Mar. 2018 Text messages, video, pictures and other documents surrounding the trip were turned over Tuesday to the state’s ethics commission that is probing the trips due to a complaint filed by a local businessman and persistent critic of Gillum. Gary Fineout, The Seattle Times, "New documents contradict Florida Democratic nominee Gillum," 23 Oct. 2018 Caruana Galizia, who had probed money-laundering and corruption in the Mediterranean island nation, was killed when a bomb destroyed her car on Oct. 16. Fox News, "Family of slain Maltese journalist demands public inquiry," 9 Aug. 2018 Its regulator is the DFSA, which oversees about 629 companies and whose enforcement arm is led by a former U.K. investigator who probed Libor misconduct. Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, "Once Billed as a Financial Haven in the Middle East, Dubai Turns Investors Wary," 2 Aug. 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

30 Nov 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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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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