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 search (audio) \ noun
searchable \ ˈsər-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce search (audio) \ adjective
searcher noun
searchingly \ ˈsər-​chiŋ-​lē How to pronounce search (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 The minute-long video chronicles search terms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and illustrates how those terms may be changing as a result of vaccinations, allowing the world to transition away from virtual events and back to in-person gatherings. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "'Get back to what you love': Google COVID-19 vaccine ad garners 6.3 million views, emotional response," 5 Apr. 2021 The other modes have been spotty, especially search and destroy. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Dallas Empire keep making same mistakes, spurring lengthy team meeting after 3-2 loss to OpTic Chicago," 4 Apr. 2021 That's because under federal regulations, border police have the right to stop, search and detain individuals up to 100 miles outside the border. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "'Stop that Black guy' — CBP cops blow whistle on racial profiling at the border," 2 Apr. 2021 The blue sedan appeared to hit a barrier that can be raised while Capitol Police search a vehicle and verify its occupants’ identities. Los Angeles Times, "U.S. Capitol Police officer killed in vehicle attack; suspect shot dead," 2 Apr. 2021 For example, examining who officers choose to search most often and comparing that data to those most often found with contraband, can indicate biases. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "The Color of Authority: San Diego police, sheriff’s deputies disproportionately target minorities, data show," 28 Mar. 2021 Users will also be able to search memories and categorize them according to their own needs. Chris Smith, BGR, "Google Assistant is getting a major Memory upgrade," 25 Mar. 2021 Before every visit, Stephen is kind enough to search for it and understand its value to me. Steve Straessle, Arkansas Online, "Shine on," 20 Mar. 2021 Bitwarden is open source, which means the code that powers Bitwarden is freely available for anyone to inspect, search for flaws, and fix. Scott Gilbertson, Wired, "How to Export Your Passwords From LastPass," 13 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most have no plan of returning to a country that still sees thousands leave each year in search of economic stability and safety from gangs. Amy Taxin, Star Tribune, "Immigrants with temporary status have grown deep roots in US," 2 Apr. 2021 The federal government could lend its resources to local law enforcement officials to help in the search. Michael Balsamo, Anchorage Daily News, "Justice Department working with tribes on missing and murdered Indigenous women," 2 Apr. 2021 There are two players to keep an eye in the search for a fourth linebacker. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Ohio State football and the recruiting battle for 4-star Justin Medlock," 1 Apr. 2021 OpTic hasn’t been sound in search this season either. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "‘We are getting better’: ‘iLLeY,’ Dallas Empire sink Mutineers in 3-0 sweep," 1 Apr. 2021 Fresno County deputies assisting in the search for the suspect driver located two women hiding behind the gate of a local residence on Floral Avenue. Fox News, "California suspect in deadly hit-and-run hid from police behind home gate, investigators say," 31 Mar. 2021 Another operator participating in the search found and identified the wreckage about an hour later, Chapman said. Mark Thiessen, ajc, "Czech billionaire among 5 killed in Alaska helicopter crash," 30 Mar. 2021 Some of the early successes for heterologous prime-boosts came in the search for vaccines for Ebola. New York Times, "Getting One Vaccine Is Good. How About Mix-and-Match?," 30 Mar. 2021 Multiple law enforcement agencies are taking part in the search, including the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "‘Like something in a movie’: Killer remains on the run after tunneling out of Alabama jail," 19 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for search

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for search

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Search.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/search. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on search

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