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 New York Times and Washington Post have reported that a grand jury met on Thursday in connection with a probe involving McCabe, the FBI’s former deputy director. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Why It’s Unlikely the McCabe Grand Jury Voted against Indictment," 14 Sep. 2019 The agency has cooperated with the federal probe and will continue to do so, the spokesman said. BostonGlobe.com, "The embattled former president of the Massachusetts State Police union was indicted Thursday on a host of federal charges — including racketeering and conspiracy — that could land him in federal prison for decades.," 13 Sep. 2019 Sources familiar with the probe said the boat could be towed back to shore as soon as Wednesday. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "California boat fire: Raising sunken vessel is crucial as investigation widens," 10 Sep. 2019 The news follows a similar probe of Facebook revealed Friday by eight states and DC, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Wired, "States Are Turning up the Heat on Google and Facebook," 9 Sep. 2019 The Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and Congress are also conducting probes of both Facebook and Google. CBS News, "48 U.S. states launch antitrust investigation into Google," 9 Sep. 2019 President Trump has prevented McGahn from cooperating with the House probe. oregonlive, "Donald Trump’s impeachment will happen this fall, key House Democrat says: ‘I don’t think there’s much doubt about that’," 4 Sep. 2019 Hyten gave Spletstoser a glowing job performance review in mid-November 2017, just as his command was launching an initial workplace climate assessment that prompted the probe of Spletstoser in late December, and her eventual dismissal. Dan Lamothe, Anchorage Daily News, "Documents detail investigations of a top general facing sexual assault allegations and his accuser," 16 Aug. 2019 And the TerraMar Project has been disbanded, though, according to The New York Post, an F.B.I. probe of it is underway. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, "Whatever Happened to Ghislaine Maxwell’s Plan to Save the Oceans?," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To find clients, authorities said that Hamlett took explicit photos of the two girls and posted them on Backpage.com, a personal advertisement site that was taken down by federal investigators probing its use as an avenue to promote prostitution. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Hartford’s ‘Cadillac Black’ gets 15 years for trafficking underage girls," 10 Sep. 2019 While some voices on each side have continued to ratchet up the bluster, others have in recent days seemed to probe for paths out of the confrontation. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "Iran’s Seizure of British Vessel Further Roils Gulf Region," 19 July 2019 When probed for more information, the creator would not share specifics of their proprietary algorithm. Michael Li, WIRED, "High-Stakes AI Decisions Need to Be Automatically Audited," 18 July 2019 Many reveal Bolles' skills as a reporter, probing for information, cajoling sources. Richard Ruelas, AZCentral.com, "Lost to Time From the Don Bolles files: Murder and the drug ring's pot plane," 9 July 2019 Although pirates still occasionally probe the waters off Somalia for a vulnerable ship, they have largely been kept at bay. The Economist, "West Africa has become the world’s piracy hotspot," 3 July 2019 By 2014, Birla was being probed for financial irregularities committed by his companies even as investors hounded him. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A flamboyant Indian industrialist is now chased by a bank his ancestor founded," 17 June 2019 Fifteen healthy adults agreed to have their guts and stool probed for preexisting microbes before entering the trial. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Probiotics: If you don’t just poop them out, they may muck up your guts," 8 Sep. 2018 Investigators began probing the drug ring after inmate Kelly Angle survived an overdose on Jan. 18. Adam Ferrise, cleveland.com, "Cuyahoga County Jail officers, Heartless Felons gang members charged in drug ring inside troubled jail," 28 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.

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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

21 Sep 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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