search

verb
\ ˈsərch \
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 \ noun
searchable \ ˈsər-​chə-​bəl \ adjective
searcher noun
searchingly \ ˈsər-​chiŋ-​lē \ 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

KrebsOnSecurity said that a fraud investigator for a midsized bank had several customers who got suckered after searching for the customer support line for Amazon. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Amazon Prime Day: Gift cards, coupons and other scams to watch for," 14 July 2018 Using a search warrant, detectives also searched the suspect's house and seized several items. City News Service, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Man, 66, arrested, suspected of molesting a child at a hotel pool," 13 July 2018 Police are continuing to search for a man suspected of attacking a woman with a chainsaw Wednesday afternoon in Whittier. Brittny Mejia, latimes.com, "Whittier police search for man accused of attacking woman with a chainsaw," 12 July 2018 According to the researchers, this ancient sand would be an excellent place to search for the molecular evidence of life on Mars, as sand dunes on Earth have been shown to support microbial life. Frankie Schembri, Science | AAAS, "‘Ghost dunes’ spotted on Mars," 11 July 2018 The Urban Forestry Administration in Washington, DC, has used the new map to determine where to plant trees by searching the district for areas without tree cover where standing water accumulates. Bill Gourgey, WIRED, "How Artificial Intelligence Could Prevent Natural Disasters," 10 July 2018 Lake surfers already have to search harder than ocean surfers to enjoy their sport. David North, Chicago Reader, "Sickened surfers say the best waves in Lake Michigan are in the polluted waters off northwest Indiana," 10 July 2018 The Pasadena Police Department is searching for a man wearing clown face paint who robbed a woman at a check cashing business on Independence Day. Fernando Alfonso Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Police searching for man wearing clown paint who robbed woman on video," 12 July 2018 The characters in Moshfegh’s fictions are searching for other sites of being: other worlds, other towns, other selves. Walton Muyumba, latimes.com, "Detachment and dreaming in 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That search is under way, and Tom Staggs, former chief operating officer at Disney , is a top contender, according to people familiar with the matter. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "How CBS Can Right the Ship in 2019," 31 Dec. 2018 The work done with PHAZER proves that the search for alien life is more than just a matter of scoping a target with a telescope, finding an extraterrestrial fossil with a rover or discovering an actual organism. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "We're Recreating Alien Atmospheres on Earth To Search for Life Beyond the Solar System," 20 Dec. 2018 The search for a beauty holy grail is a group effort, and that’s part of the joy. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The “best” lipstick probably won’t change your life — but the search for it can," 12 Dec. 2018 So, the search for Kendall's secret admirer continues. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Um...Did Harry Styles Write Kendall Jenner This Love Letter?!," 11 Dec. 2018 The search for the perfect gift is always a question of which purchase will feel more tailor-made than most. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Nothing But Custom: The Best Monogrammed Holiday Gift Ideas of the Season," 13 Nov. 2018 The search for braids in the U.S. was up 445 percent, per Pinterest's data. Madisen Theobald, Allure, "The Top Global Hair Trends In 2018, According to Pinterest," 25 Aug. 2018 My search led me to the MugMate, which has proven remarkably dependable. Joe Jackson, Outside Online, "The MugMate Is the Best Camp Coffeemaker, Hands Down," 13 July 2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune is extending its search for the best places to work in the county until Aug. 10 for nomination submissions. U-t Staff, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Top Workplaces deadline is extended," 12 July 2018

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

19 Jan 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 \
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

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