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 third issue was the matter of mandatory impartial investigations at the beginning of any probe into claims. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Members of Congress Can Pay Sexual Harassment Settlements With Taxpayer Dollars, but That Could Change," 13 Dec. 2018 Russia inundated social media platforms with a barrage of fake news that led to the ongoing Mueller probe into how much Vladimir Putin and company interfered in the election. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "If the 2018 Election Is Hacked, This Is How It Will Happen," 5 Nov. 2018 Mueller took Strzok off the Russia probe in July last year, The Post reported. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: House Democrats list states with weakest election security in new report," 13 July 2018 For example, satellites like the European MetOp probes monitor energy radiating off the Earth with the goal of assessing humidity in the atmosphere. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "5G Could Interfere With Weather Satellites, Scientists Warn," 29 Apr. 2019 The news poses the prospect that major changes may soon come to the Mueller probe, which Barr will oversee if he is confirmed. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Trump’s attorney general nominee wrote a memo expressing deep suspicion of the Mueller probe," 20 Dec. 2018 But Democrats could, for instance, trade probes into anti-conservative bias for new ones into antitrust matters. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Will the Democrats’ victory lead to tougher regulation of Silicon Valley? Even Europe’s tech czar isn’t sure.," 7 Nov. 2018 The president is tweeting like crazy about the Mueller probe. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 2018 In other news, the Mueller probe is reportedly examining the byzantine connections between Trump acolyte Roger Stone, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and the Trump campaign. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “The Whole Thing Is a Hoax!”," 18 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Assigned to probe the cold case in 2005, Hartford police Detective Andrew Jacobson said a tip from the public could be what is needed to find the killer. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "After 33 Years, Hartford Police Are Still Asking: Who Killed Raquel Ramirez?," 26 June 2018 Another sign those relations could soon be more strained: On Wednesday, Cagle filled out the membership of a study committee to probe whether a new state board should oversee the airport. Jeremy Redmon, ajc, "Atlanta mayor won’t rule out canceling agreement to hold ICE detainees," 21 June 2018 Mark Goldman, Arpaio's attorney, urges Sessions to either quickly appoint a special counsel to probe the allegations or direct the Inspector General's Office to investigate the department. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Joe Arpaio asks AG Jeff Sessions to investigate his 2016 defeat in sheriff's race," 21 June 2018 At the Fillmore this week, fans will encounter a band locked into its mission — and continuing to probe creative boundaries. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Young and hungry, Greta Van Fleet returns to Detroit as a rock-conquering hero," 20 May 2018 As federal investigators continue to probe Michael Cohen's business dealings, another part of his life draws new scrutiny: his aggressive pitch promising access to President Trump after the 2016 election. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things for May 10: American detainees, Israel and Iran, and Hawaii eruptions," 10 May 2018 The Naval Criminal Investigative Service also continues to probe another suspicious death there. Carl Prine, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Stabbing suspect faces murder charges at Camp Pendleton; defense says it was horseplay gone wrong," 26 Apr. 2018 Still, regulators continue to probe the former executive’s behavior and the company’s response, potentially jeopardizing Wynn Resorts’ casino licenses in those jurisdictions. BostonGlobe.com, "Russia joins bid to win compensation over US metals tariffs," 20 Apr. 2018 The reports also make clear that investigators -- who were continuing to probe in incidents -- didn't at the time know why these crashes happened. Ashley Remkus, AL.com, "Policeman who died wrecked partrol car twice in less than an hour, reports say," 10 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

18 May 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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