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

The disconnect is jarring between this scene and what is transpiring at the same moment, all over America: thousands of people desperately searching for more OxyContin, their families wrecked, their money gone, their lives ruined. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, "How Sackler Became the Most Toxic Name in Philanthropy," 16 May 2019 If a streaming service doesn’t have more than three or so fields of dynamic metadata, any browsing or searching you do will be rendered largely pointless. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Idagio—The Spotify For Classical Music—Has Changed My Life," 15 May 2019 The mass production of cashmere, once solely a luxury good, is fueling ecological destruction that has fashion labels searching for new sources of the fiber—or giving it up altogether. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "From H&M to Gucci, Fashion Rethinks Cashmere, Citing Environmental Harm," 13 May 2019 The trailer picks up years in the future with an adult Beverly Marsh (portrayed this time around by Jessica Chastain, the kid version by Sophia Lillis) returning to her childhood home in Derry, Maine, searching for her father. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "The "It: Chapter 2" Trailer Is Finally Here to Give You Nightmares About Pennywise," 9 May 2019 Tormund and Beric Dondarrion are both still very much alive, ad along with Edd and members of the Night’s Watch, search through a castle that belongs to the Umbers, a Northern family loyal to the Starks. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1: Everything You Need to Know," 15 Apr. 2019 Dozens of law enforcement personnel, including FBI agents and federal marshals, searched for the boy. Amanda Lee Myers, The Seattle Times, "Escaped teenager charged in mother’s death recaptured," 12 Apr. 2019 To check on the schedule of your local Wally World, simply head on over to Walmart's website and search in its store locater. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Is Walmart Open on Easter? Here Are the Superstore's Holiday Hours," 11 Mar. 2019 Buyers searching for a very specific vehicle or one with a unique configuration may do better to find a private seller or put out the call on enthusiast forums. Car and Driver, "A Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Could Be a Great Deal," 22 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That includes how artificial intelligence can be used to improve its search function. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Etsy Taps Google Cloud to Improve Search, Juicing Sales," 13 May 2019 The conspiracy theory took root after Twitter made a change to its algorithm that effectively prevented hundreds of thousands of Twitter accounts from being auto-suggested when people used the site’s search function. Aja Romano, Vox, "How hysteria over Twitter shadow-banning led to a bizarre congressional hearing," 6 Sep. 2018 According to Google there has been a huge spike in search interest for mismatched earrings, up 700 percent from last year. Glamour, "How to Pull Off Mismatched Earrings," 8 May 2019 Public investors’ search for the next hot biotechnology acquisition target is helping even early-stage drugmakers to go public. Brian Gormley, WSJ, "Search for Buyout Targets Leads Public Investors to Biotech," 3 May 2019 The World Professional Association for Transgender Health has a provider directory search feature on its website, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association has a database of LGBTQ-friendly providers. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "7 Things to Know About Birth Control If You Are Transgender or Nonbinary," 1 May 2019 Any design enthusiast that browses Zillow, Trulia, and the other popular home search sites knows that the market is full of mid-century modern homes. Eric Whitmer, House Beautiful, "What You Should Know Before Buying A Mid-Century Modern Home," 5 Apr. 2019 There's an ongoing, nationwide search for the teenager, but police can't find any leads, weapons, or motives. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "The Heartbreaking Reason 'The Voice' Star Chris Kroeze Dedicated His Performance to His Town," 20 Nov. 2018 In fact, searches for lilac hair are up 1,077 percent on Pinterest this year. Glamour, "Lavender-Gray Hair Is Spring’s Most Unexpectedly Cool Color Trend," 9 Apr. 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

25 May 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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