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 Roberts said that authorities will continue to search social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for those who have posted racist content. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 15 July 2021 Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir said the community plans to continue to search the area of the residential school, and oral histories suggest other locations will also need to be searched. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, 15 July 2021 Waterbury police have arrested one man, and continue to search for a second, in connection to the death of a 24-year-old Saturday. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, 14 July 2021 As authorities continue to search for a grizzly bear that pulled a woman from her tent and killed her in a small Montana town, more details are emerging about the victim. CBS News, 9 July 2021 Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told families at a private briefing that crews would stop using rescue dogs and listening devices but would continue to search for remains. Terry Spencer, Anchorage Daily News, 8 July 2021 With the change from rescue to recovery, officials said, crews will stop using rescue dogs and listening devices but continue to search for people who are still missing. orlandosentinel.com, 8 July 2021 Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told families at a private briefing Wednesday afternoon that crews would stop using rescue dogs and listening devices but would continue to search for remains. Terry Spencer And Adriana Gomez Licon, Star Tribune, 7 July 2021 As Floyd and other members of the community grapple with the death of the promising young man with a bright future ahead of him, police continue to search for his killer or killers. Kc Baker, PEOPLE.com, 6 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ease your search for the perfect pair of cowboy boots with this guide to boot shopping in Houston, arranged by affordability. Rosemary Akpan, Chron, 23 July 2021 His arrest and conviction came at a time when the police, struggling to contain New York’s gang wars and a devastatingly high murder rate in the 1990s, could often cut corners in their search for suspects. New York Times, 22 July 2021 Dangerous conditions, including strong currents and high water levels, forced first responders to suspend their search on Saturday. NBC News, 20 July 2021 Environmental conservation police, state troopers and local officers have repeatedly called off their search for the two missing teenagers - Anthony Nagore, 17, and Lucas Brewer, 15 - because of hazardous conditions in the river over the weekend. Don Stacom, courant.com, 19 July 2021 The University of Texas System is restarting its search for a new president at the Arlington campus more than a year after the pandemic disrupted the process. Valeria Olivares, Dallas News, 19 July 2021 In their never-ending search for food, the pigs root through soils, churning the dirt like a farmer tills fields. Matt Simon, Wired, 19 July 2021 My search only comes up with advisors with investments. Liz Weston, oregonlive, 17 July 2021 Expand your search to other vacant spaces in flower beds, mixed borders and containers. Melinda Myers, Star Tribune, 16 July 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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Learn More About search

Time Traveler for search

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near search

searcer

search

search and rescue team

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Statistics for search

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Search.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/search. Accessed 27 Jul. 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
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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