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 remarks are intended to reassure Democratic senators troubled by Barr’s past comments on the special counsel’s probe, including the unsolicited memo. Eric Tucker, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s AG nominee defends memo criticizing Mueller probe," 15 Jan. 2019 The space agency’s New Horizons probe, which flew by Pluto in 2015, is now going to fly past another object — a type of space rock we’ve never been to before. Loren Grush, The Verge, "How to watch as NASA sends a spacecraft past a rock at the edge of the Solar System," 30 Dec. 2018 He is hardly shed of controversy, having worked on the Ken Starr probe of Bill Clinton, for instance. Jay Ambrose, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Brett Kavanaugh an excellent Supreme Court pick," 11 July 2018 Both worked on the Clinton investigation and also on the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Ken Dilanian /, NBC News, "FBI agent Peter Strzok said he was sorry for anti-Trump texts, say Democrats," 2 July 2018 The two worked closely on the Clinton email probe, and later on the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in the election. Laura Jarrett, CNN, "Key dates in the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton's emails," 14 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

America’s armchair criminologists now make a pastime of probing for such racist fibers in a few seconds of amateur YouTube video or an errant tweet. James Panero, WSJ, "Where’s the Mercy in ‘Social Justice’?," 23 Jan. 2019 There are already some hints about how Waters could use that perch to probe the scandals and conflicts of interest swirling around the Trump administration. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Maxine Waters could be a serious problem for Trump if Democrats win the House," 5 July 2018 The facility, called Diamond Light Source, is one of the most powerful and sophisticated X-ray facilities in the world, used to probe everything from viruses to jet engines. Henrik Knudsen, Smithsonian, "Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia," 26 June 2018 Jetpack Aviation continues to probe for the correct use for its very loud jet packs. Joshua Brustein, latimes.com, "Boeing asked for quiet jet packs but got a bunch of air motorcycles," 14 June 2018 And D’Alessandro is part of a team using muons to probe inside the walls of the dome of Florence’s fifteenth-century cathedral, which has developed cracks. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "Muons: The Little-known Particles Helping to Probe the Impenetrable," 28 May 2018 The detectives wanted to probe for the next best thing to a direct DNA hit — a match to anyone closely related to the mystery intruder. NBC News, "Familial DNA puts elusive killers behind bars. But only 12 states use it.," 28 Apr. 2018 The mission would have involved sending a robot to the moon’s polar region in 2022 to probe for things like underground water and hydrogen. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "NASA Cancels Moon Mission, Frustrating Scientists," 27 Apr. 2018 The referral from the Inspector General to the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office is thought to be far more serious, as inspector general investigators are nonpartisan lawyers and agents who probe wrongdoing for a living. The Washington Post, AL.com, "DOJ refers findings on Andrew McCabe to US Attorney," 19 Apr. 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

23 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 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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