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

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 Federer himself was searching for explanation afterwards. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Four Thoughts From Four Quarterfinals: Rafa-Djokovic to Meet, Federer Upset," 11 July 2018 British Airways reported a 700 percent surge in people searching for flights from the U.K. to Russia. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "England’s Unfamiliar Emotion: Hope," 10 July 2018 Wochit Glendale police were searching for a shooter who left two people injured Sunday night. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "Glendale PD: Shooter flees after leaving 2 wounded," 8 July 2018 Authorities are still searching for Adiel and Ramos and they are believed to be armed and dangerous. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Suspect Captured in Teen Girls' Alleged Rape and Kidnapping in Hotel as 2 Others Are Still Sought," 6 July 2018 Expect to focus less on becoming the very best that no one ever was and more on digging deep down into your heart to do some hard but necessary soul-searching. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "A new Pokémon Go clone lets players collect Catholic saints instead of monsters," 24 Oct. 2018 Second, expect to do a little soul-searching on your own. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "Exclusive: Genevieve Gorder's Launching Free Online Design Classes," 20 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Set above the Arctic Circle, the series follows the men of the real-life Franklin Expedition, which departed from England in 1847 in search of a Northwest Passage, then promptly disappeared. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The 7 best TV shows of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 May fought to save the deal by lobbying several fellow national leaders, racing from London to The Hague, Berlin and Brussels in search of any support that would push the Brexit agreement through at home. Lorne Cook, The Seattle Times, "UK’s May hits narrowing road for help rescuing Brexit deal," 12 Dec. 2018 People may also begin to feel increasingly unfamiliar in their surroundings and wander in search of a place that feels more recognizable, possibly getting lost. Korin Miller, SELF, "Are There Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease to Watch For?," 28 Nov. 2018 But drawing up regulations governing that area of search results would be more likely to raise First Amendment issues, making them even more difficult to impose. Michael Liedtke, The Seattle Times, "Google grilled in Congress: What’s ahead for tech companies," 12 Dec. 2018 Victoria says that the Jaimes aren’t alone; a number of Bloomington residents moved there from the LA area in search of a quieter lifestyle. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Your online shopping is polluting this small town," 20 Nov. 2018 Aimlessly browsing for the perfect sofa is exhausting, and sorting through thousands of search results online is even harder. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "What You Should Know Before Buying Furniture From Interior Define," 31 Oct. 2018 There are also many active clinical trials that are taking place in the search for promising Alzheimer’s treatments, the NIA explains. Korin Miller, SELF, "Are There Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease to Watch For?," 28 Nov. 2018 The five AUVs used in the search are equipped with side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo-sounder for seabed mapping, an HD camera, and synthetic aperture sonar. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Doomed Argentine sub found a year after its disappearance," 19 Nov. 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

5 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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