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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two officers then bend the restrained White over a police car to search him for weapons, his button-down blue shirt in tatters. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 10 May 2022 The car was locked and authorities are seeking a warrant to search it, the Williamson County spokesperson said. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 6 May 2022 And rather than continue to search for an elusive trade partner for Foles, the Bears made the decision to move on from him now. Alyssa Barbieri, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 Hospital medication cabinets are primarily accessed by nurses, who can search them in two ways. Brett Kelman, CNN, 28 Apr. 2022 Crews continue to search for Mariana Dukes, 23, of Eugene. oregonlive, 26 Apr. 2022 Some police unions and officers are fighting the new rules, arguing that pulling over cars to search them is an essential weapon against serious crime. New York Times, 15 Apr. 2022 While investigators continue to search for answers on why agents were seemingly swindled, all four officials are currently being treated as witnesses to the investigation. Nicole Sganga, CBS News, 8 Apr. 2022 Records show an internal investigation found Hurst violated department rules by turning his back on Klein, failing to search him and leaving him alone in his car. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Despite a massive search to find Grinstead, she was never seen alive again. Alexis Stevens, ajc, 11 May 2022 The board will kick off a search in the coming weeks, said Jessica McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the company. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 11 May 2022 Bowman noted the deputies informed the passengers once onboard that a search would be completed. Joe Sutton And Claudia Dominguez, CNN, 11 May 2022 Johansen told the outlet that they were stopped for between 30 and 45 minutes, and many of her peers were asking questions of the officers about the nature of the stop, and why a traffic violation had led to a drug search. Natasha Dye, PEOPLE.com, 11 May 2022 During a search of the Chrysler, police found felony drugs. John Benson, cleveland, 11 May 2022 The driver was arrested after a search that involved a police helicopter. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 May 2022 The Coast Guard learned the Chicken Pox hadn't returned to port in South Kingston, Rhode Island, on Sept. 18 and launched a search that continued through Sept. 24, prosecutors said. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 10 May 2022 It was identified last night and a search of the area where the SUV was found was conducted this morning. Adam Sabes, Fox News, 7 May 2022 See More

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.

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-

Learn More About search

Time Traveler for search

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near search

searcer

search

search and rescue team

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for search

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Search.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/search. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for search

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
4 : to use a computer to find information (as in a database or on the Internet)

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

search

transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on search

Nglish: Translation of search for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of search for Arabic Speakers

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