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

Mueller's report repeatedly references handwritten notes that Donaldson took about Trump's angry reactions to the unfolding Russia probe. CBS News, "Former Don McGahn aide blocked by White House from answering questions, House panel says," 9 July 2019 These crewless, robotic probes paved the way for a giant leap forward in space exploration. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "A brief history of moon exploration," 5 July 2019 In the four years since he was indicted, Paxton has weathered two federal probes, been investigated and cleared on bribery allegations unrelated to his indictments and celebrated his wife Angela Paxton's Nov. 6 election to the Texas Senate. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "Special prosecutor asks to step down from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's case," 1 July 2019 The Huygens probe, carried by Cassini gave us a first glimpse of the moon’s surface. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "NASA chooses Saturn’s moon Titan as its next destination," 27 June 2019 Last week, another federal investigation — apparently unrelated to the Burke probe — became public when FBI agents raided the Far South Side ward office of longtime Ald. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Ex-Ald. Willie Cochran set to be sentenced Monday for misusing ward charitable fund," 24 June 2019 To bring the historic image to the world, the 23-person crew had to use a specialized probe, get lucky enough to lure the elusive squid to a camera, then find it among hours and hours of video footage. nola.com, "Watch: Rare video of giant squid in Gulf of Mexico’s ‘midnight zone’," 23 June 2019 Having reached an agreement with the Justice Department, HJC members will get more of the underlying information from the Mueller probe than seemed likely only a week ago. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Losing This Made-for-TV Moment," 12 June 2019 Dean, whose congressional testimony in 1973 was key to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, has frequently criticized Trump’s actions related to the Russian probe in his role as a CNN contributor. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Trump attacks ‘sleazebag’ John Dean before testimony," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 28-year-old Konta had led 4-1 in the first set but succumbed 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to unseeded Czech 33-year-old Barbora Strycova, prompting some probing questions. Ben Morse, CNN, "'You're being quite disrespectful and you're patronizing me': tennis star hits back at reporter," 10 July 2019 Hicks was one of five aides formally subpoenaed by the committee - which is probing the obstruction question, among other issues. Anchorage Daily News, "Former White House aide Hicks agrees to testify to House panel investigating Trump," 12 June 2019 Trust, however, that Toronto would never leave it at that; if Durant steps on the floor, the full extent of his recovery will be tested by a Raptor offense that probes for weakness and a Raptor defense that leaves nothing to chance. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Kevin Durant Is All That Separates the Warriors From Survival and Defeat," 10 June 2019 Taking as her starting point her own experience as an immigrant to the United States, Segal has built up a body of work that probes how people come to know one another. Madeleine Schwartz, Harper's magazine, "Warm, Weird, Effervescent," 10 June 2019 Initially, most evidence for mirroring in humans was derived from studies that probed the activity of millions of neurons simultaneously, using techniques such as fMRI, EEG, magnetoencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Quanta Magazine, "How the Brain Links Gestures, Perception and Meaning," 25 Mar. 2019 The black box data recorder devices from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 are now being sent to investigators in Europe, who will probe what ultimately caused the disaster. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Pilot of Doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight Reported Control Problems Shortly After Takeoff," 13 Mar. 2019 And the basketball press, namely in the probing work of ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, has wondered about the morality of a draft. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "The N.B.A.’s Draft Show Goes On, With Style — Even if It Shouldn’t," 21 June 2019 China has selected nine scientific experiments—including a project that will probe how DNA mutates in space—to fly on its first major space station, scheduled to be completed in 2022. Elizabeth Gibney, Scientific American, "China Reveals Scientific Experiments for Next Space Station," 19 June 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

13 Jul 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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