search

verb
\ ˈsərch How to pronounce search (audio) \
searched; searching; searches

Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to look into or over carefully or thoroughly in an effort to find or discover something: such as
a : to examine in seeking something searched the north field
b : to look through or explore by inspecting possible places of concealment or investigating suspicious circumstances
c : to read thoroughly : check especially : to examine a public record or register for information about search land titles
d : to examine for articles concealed on the person
e : to look at as if to discover or penetrate intention or nature
2 : to uncover, find, or come to know by inquiry or scrutiny usually used with out

intransitive verb

1 : to look or inquire carefully searched for the papers
2 : to make painstaking investigation or examination

search

noun

Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act of searching a search for food go in search of help
b : an act of boarding and inspecting a ship on the high seas in exercise of right of search
2 obsolete : a party that searches
3 : power or range of penetrating also : a penetrating effect

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Other Words from search

Verb

searchability \ ˌsər-​chə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce searchability (audio) \ noun
searchable \ ˈsər-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce searchable (audio) \ adjective
searcher noun
searchingly \ ˈsər-​chiŋ-​lē How to pronounce searchingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of search in a Sentence

Verb

They haven't found him yet, so they have to keep searching. The police searched her for concealed weapons. He was searched by the guard before he was allowed to enter the courtroom. The software allows you to search thousands of sites at the same time. She searched for information on the Web. He searched her face, hoping to see some glimmer of emotion.

Noun

We will begin a search for a new manager this week. I performed a search for the file. I did a Web search for restaurants in that area.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One year after Brooke Allensworth’s disappearance, authorities are still searching for the missing mother of three. Bianca Hillier, NBC News, "Arkansas mother of three Brooke Allensworth still missing after car found abandoned under bridge," 2 July 2019 Kansas police are searching for answers after a teen, who went to help a friend with chores, disappeared and was later found dead in the back of a semi-truck. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Kansas Teen, 17, Found Dead After Going to Help Longtime Adult Male Friend Clean His Home," 2 July 2019 Divers are searching for a 2-year-old girl believed to have gone missing in the Rio Grande River near Del Rio, Texas, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Tuesday. Caroline Linton, CBS News, "Border Patrol searches for missing 2-year-old girl in Rio Grande," 2 July 2019 Law enforcement officers were still searching for two suspects, looking in the mall, nearby parking lots and on BART trains, as the pair might have left the scene on a train. Jaclyn Cosgrove, latimes.com, "Police respond to reports of shooting at mall outside San Bruno," 2 July 2019 San Francisco Bay Area police are searching for two suspects in a mall shooting that prompted an evacuation and snarled commuter traffic on Tuesday night. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "California police searching for 2 suspects after mall shooting near San Francisco; 2 injured," 2 July 2019 Petaluma police are searching for a man who swiped a rack of cigarettes from a gas station Friday afternoon. Ashley Mcbride, SFChronicle.com, "Man sought for stealing case of cigarettes from Petaluma gas station," 30 June 2019 Denton police are searching for Lecarvin Lewis, who goes by Kevin. Dallas News, "41-year-old man with intellectual disability missing in Denton, police say," 30 June 2019 The query is searching for all candidate names and handles, and hashtags. Maureen Linke And Danny Dougherty, WSJ, "In Second Democratic Debate, Social Media Focuses on Harris-Biden Crossfire," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Scammers found a way to push their fake number to the top of his Google search, and Bob was tricked into calling a convincing-sounding technician. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "4 chilling lessons from a tech hotline scam," 4 July 2019 Citing security concerns with staying downtown and lack of large development sites nearby, the FBI and GSA pursued large plots of land, ultimately narrowing its search to sites in Greenbelt and Landover in Maryland and Springfield, Virginia. al.com, "Decision to not move FBI headquarters and shuffle staff to Alabama will be investigated by DOJ," 3 July 2019 By studying Earhart’s final radio transmissions and calculating what is known about the Electra’s fuel supply, researchers have narrowed their search to a 630-square-mile area of ocean. Alec Forssmann, National Geographic, "Missing! The unsolved mystery of Amelia Earhart's last flight," 1 July 2019 State troopers are asking for help in their search for a hit-and-run driver who killed a Missouri man in Ellis County earlier this month. Matt Peterson, Dallas News, "Troopers seek hit-and-run driver who killed man on I-45, left pieces of Mustang behind," 29 June 2019 History Flight was given permission to demolish an abandoned building during its search, and most of the remains were found underneath that structure. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Remains of 30 Service Members Killed in WWII Unearthed at Tarawa," 28 June 2019 Heartbroken and frustrated by the ravages caused by both the disease and powerful chemotherapy drugs, Cottrell began his search for alternative treatments. Stacey Mckenna, azcentral, "Everyday faces of cannabis: It’s time to move past the “stoner” stereotype," 26 June 2019 Its government allowed History Flight to demolish an abandoned building in its latest search. CBS News, "Graves of 30 U.S. Marines, sailors found on Pacific World War II battlefield," 26 June 2019 Police said that the department's marine unit and the Barbados Coast Guard conducted their own search that extended as far as Bridgetown Port but the couple nor the jet ski were located. Fox News, "New Jersey couple goes missing while on vacation in Barbados, going out to sea on jet ski, police say," 26 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'search.' 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 search

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for search

Verb

Middle English cerchen, from Anglo-French cercher, sercher to travel about, investigate, search, from Late Latin circare to go about, from Latin circum round about — more at circum-

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Statistics for search

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for search

The first known use of search was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for search

search

verb

English Language Learners Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to carefully look for someone or something : to try to find someone or something
: to carefully look for someone or something in (something)
: to carefully look through the clothing of (someone) for something that may be hidden

search

noun

English Language Learners Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

: an attempt to find someone or something : the act or process of looking for someone or something
: an attempt to find information in a database, network, Web site, etc., by using a computer program

search

verb
\ ˈsərch How to pronounce search (audio) \
searched; searching

Kids Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to go through or look around carefully and thoroughly in an effort to find something … she searched the nearby shore for signs of an intruder.— E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
2 : to carefully look for someone or something
3 : to look in the pockets or the clothing of (someone) for something hidden

search

noun

Kids Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of looking for someone or something

search

noun

Legal Definition of search

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an exploratory investigation (as of an area or person) by a government agent that intrudes on an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy and is conducted usually for the purpose of finding evidence of unlawful activity or guilt or to locate a person warrantless searches are invalid unless they fall within narrowly drawn exceptionsState v. Mahone, 701 P.2d 171 (1985) — see also exigent circumstances, plain view sense 2, probable cause at cause sense 2, reasonable suspicion, search warrant at warrant — compare seizure

Note: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and requires that a warrant may issue only upon probable cause and that the warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched. Some searches, such as a search incident to an arrest, have been held to be valid without a warrant.

administrative search
: an inspection or search carried out under a regulatory or statutory scheme especially in public or commercial premises and usually to enforce compliance with regulations or laws pertaining to health, safety, or security one of the fundamental principles of administrative searches is that the government may not use an administrative inspection scheme as a pretext to search for evidence of criminal violationsPeople v. Madison, 520 N.E.2d 374 (1988)

called also administrative inspection, inspection, regulatory search

— see also probable cause at cause sense 2

Note: The U.S. Supreme Court held in Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967), that a reasonable administrative search may be conducted upon a showing of probable cause which is less stringent than that required for a search incident to a criminal investigation. The Court stated that the reasonableness of the search can only be determined by “balancing the need to search against the invasion which the search entails.” Cases following Camara have stated that the probable cause requirement is fulfilled by showing that the search meets reasonable administrative standards established in a nonarbitrary regulatory scheme.

border search
: a search made of a person upon crossing into the U.S. at a border or its equivalent (as the airport at which the person arrives in the U.S.)

Note: Probable cause is not required for a border search.

consent search
: a warrantless search conducted upon the voluntarily given consent of a person having authority over the place or things to be searched
inventory search
: a warrantless search (as of an impounded automobile) conducted for the purpose of placing personal property in safekeeping to prevent loss of the property and claims against police for such loss
protective search
: a search (as a frisk) conducted by a law enforcement officer for the purpose of ensuring against threats to safety (as from a concealed weapon) or sometimes to prevent the destruction of evidence
regulatory search
: administrative search in this entry
shakedown search \ ˈshāk-​ˌdau̇n-​ \
: a search for illicit or contraband material (as weapons or drugs) in prisoners' cells that is usually random and warrantless

Note: In Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517 (1984), the U.S. Supreme Court held that Fourth Amendment protections do not extend to searches of prisoners' cells.

strip search
: a search for something concealed on a person conducted after removal of the person's clothing
2 : an act of boarding and inspecting a ship on the high seas in exercise of the right to do so under international law (as in time of war)
3 : an examination of a public record or registry — see also title search

Legal Definition of search (Entry 2 of 2)

: to conduct a search of search the premises search a person search a title

intransitive verb

: to conduct a search search for drugs in a school locker

Other Words from search

searcher noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on search

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with search

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for search

Spanish Central: Translation of search

Nglish: Translation of search for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of search for Arabic Speakers

Comments on search

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