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

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 Although a number of the president’s advisers believe that impeachment could be a political winner for Trump on the campaign trail next year, the president has reacted angrily to the probe. Washington Post, "Trump to face limits of his power in impeachment hearings," 13 Nov. 2019 Police continued a probe with a police dog to search the area for weapons. BostonGlobe.com, "Boston police Tuesday announced the arrests of three suspects and the recovery of a gun during an investigation in Roxbury, the department said in a statement.," 13 Nov. 2019 Later in the interview, the former South Carolina governor criticized a series of inquiries and probes into Trump and his administration, calling them one-sided. Fox News, "Nikki Haley says US must 'get to the bottom' of Joe Biden, Hunter Biden allegations," 12 Nov. 2019 All this would be but a prelude, however, to what McNutt and other mission planners pitch as the probe’s core scientific purpose. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time," 12 Nov. 2019 During that initial probe, police were aware of two children – ages 10 and 12 – living in the home with the parents – Natasha Wright and Jason Sims Sr. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Gone without a trace? Misery, mystery linger in these Alabama missing child cases," 12 Nov. 2019 The claims come as Amazon faces antitrust probes in both the US and EU investigating its marketplace. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Amazon gains unfair edge by making sellers use its shipping, complaint says," 12 Nov. 2019 But press accounts say that probe had gone long dormant by the time Biden had pushed for Shokin's ouster, and the removal of that prosecutor was the aim of a number of countries and international bodies. Allan Smith, NBC News, "Nikki Haley grilled over Trump's Ukraine conduct, truthfulness," 12 Nov. 2019 Acting Emergency Manager Keith Kotch, who helped prepare Orange County for Hurricane Dorian, retired suddenly last month amid a professional standards probe about comments to staff. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Orange emergency manager out after probe alleges he referred to female staffer as a ‘diva [expletive]’," 11 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Facebook is being probed by Hamburg’s data protection authority over transcribing audio from users of its services, adding to an investigation into Google’s automatic speech assistant. Fortune, "Germany Is Investigating Facebook for Transcribing Users’ Audio Messages," 26 Aug. 2019 Other data in the processor, including predictions about which instruction branch should be followed, can similarly be probed for clues about sensitive information. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Silent Windows update patched side channel that leaked data from Intel CPUs," 6 Aug. 2019 Such noninvasive testing avoids the hazards of the current technique for examining embryos readied for IVF, which involves inserting a needle into an embryo and plucking cells whose DNA is then probed for genetic abnormalities. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "New Noninvasive Genetic Tests for IVF Embryos Are in Development," 24 June 2019 The vindictive psychology of some men is beyond such analysis, but the expectations widely imposed on women, and how non-conformists are treated, can be probed, and maybe even changed. The Economist, "How to change a word’s meaning," 22 June 2019 But in January 2014, the Indian tax department began questioning the internal transfer of shares, weaponizing a 2012 law that allowed for windfall gains to be probed retrospectively, going all the way back to 1962. Washington Post, "Modi Has Failed to End India’s Tax Terror," 22 May 2019 Lucy Ellmann’s eighth novel — 1,000 pages long and primarily composed of run-on sentences — is an experimental narrative that probes the anxieties of life in contemporary America. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019," 30 Aug. 2019 In addition to the ongoing inquiries in Illinois and Washington, D.C., which had not been publicly disclosed before, four other state attorneys general are probing or suing Juul. CBS News, "Probes of e-cigarette giant Juul underway in Illinois and Washington, D.C.," 30 Aug. 2019 Sheriff’s office investigators are probing the death. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "47-year-old Madison County jail inmate dies," 23 Aug. 2019

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 1543, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for probe

Noun

Medieval Latin proba examination, from Latin probare

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about probe

Statistics for probe

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for probe

The first known use of probe was circa 1543

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for probe

probe

noun
How to pronounce probe (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on probe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for probe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with probe

Spanish Central: Translation of probe

Nglish: Translation of probe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on probe

What made you want to look up probe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!