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

Qualcomm on Tuesday named David Wise, its senior vice president and treasurer as interim CFO while the company searches for a permanent replacement for Mr. Davis. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "Intel Again Turns to Outsider CFO As Chip Maker Advances Shift Away From PCs," 3 Apr. 2019 When Lion Air Flight 610 crashed, killing 189 people last October, pilots frantically looked through a handbook, searching for a way to override the plane's automatic aircraft nose down feature, triggered by inaccurate sensor readings. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Lion Air Pilots Had Less Than a Minute to Avert Fatal Crash," 27 Mar. 2019 Back in 1988, the Queen Mother's secretary rang up Fulton, searching for the clear domed umbrella that the brand had pioneered. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Umbrellas Are Custom Made to Match Her Outfits," 23 Mar. 2019 Though both milestones happened some time ago, doctors are still searching for a definitive cause and cure for this condition, alternatively called Willis-Ekbom disease. Kristin Auble, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Restless Legs Syndrome," 16 Mar. 2019 William had stumbled upon Zaca Laderas Ranch, a 2,700-acre plot of land, while searching for the perfect property in 1977. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Neverland Ranch Is Back on the Market, Here's Everything You Need to Know," 6 Mar. 2019 The group is constantly on the move, avoiding the law while searching for the one big score that will set them up with enough cash to finally get far, far away from the rest of the world. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Red Dead Redemption 2 is the most convincing open-world game ever made," 25 Oct. 2018 As rescuers desperately searched for survivors beneath the landslides, the death toll was expected to rise. Fox News, "At least 7 dead, dozens feared buried after quake hits northern Japan," 2 Oct. 2018 When California native Nancy Singleton Hachisu was in her early thirties, searching for her next move, a deep love of sushi and an ear for languages led her to Japan for a year of teaching English abroad. Kate Cunningham, Condé Nast Traveler, "‘Japan: The Cookbook’ Is Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know About Japanese Cooking," 19 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 At the end of the first season, Eve was fired by Carolyn, leaving her free to jet to Paris in search of her target. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "A Quick Recap of Killing Eve Season One, Before the Hit Show Returns," 5 Apr. 2019 Filming begins next month, and the team is currently in search of extra crew members. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Kellie Pickler's New Hallmark Movie 'Wedding at Graceland' Is Hiring," 23 Mar. 2019 Well, a quick IMDb search reveals Cali and Noelle Sheldon, real-life twins, also played Ross and Rachel's baby, Emma, on Friends way back in the day. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Whoa: The Creepy Twins From Us Played Ross and Rachel's Baby on Friends," 26 Mar. 2019 But the details in some of the cases make Harberson wonder how the scheme wasn’t busted earlier, considering what was in plain sight—and what could’ve been disproven with a quick Google search. Tyler Kingkade, Town & Country, "College Admissions Has a Fact-Checking Problem. Here's Why.," 24 Mar. 2019 Getty Images The Meghan Markle Effect has been in full swing during the duchess' pregnancy, with searches for brands Karen Gee and Outland Denim skyrocketing by 5,800 percent and 3,900 percent, respectively, when Meghan stepped out in them. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle's Maternity Wardrobe Cost More Than Half a Million Dollars," 23 Mar. 2019 Immediately, Google searches skyrocketed, with folks desperately wanting to know if Kate was going to die. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Is Kate Going to Die on 'This Is Us'? Sadly, All Signs Are Pointing to Yes," 19 Mar. 2019 Together, the duo have a skincare line, co-host the Dr. and Mrs. Guinea Pig podcast, and developed a diet plan that ranked as the second most popular diet search trend of 2018. Karla Walsh, Woman's Day, "Everything You Need to Know About the Dubrow Diet," 29 Jan. 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

13 Apr 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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