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 Until then, some teachers will continue to search for a place to sleep — outside of the classroom. Isabelle Ross, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Sep. 2022 Officials continue to search the area impacted by the storm. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 17 Sep. 2022 As of Tuesday morning, authorities continue to search for 30 year-old suspect Myles Sanderson, who may be injured and seeking medical attention, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Melissa Gaffney, ABC News, 6 Sep. 2022 The remains have been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to be identified while investigators continue to search the area, police said. BostonGlobe.com, 2 Sep. 2022 Others in the spotlight continue to search for minimally invasive solutions to get rid of that stubborn dimpled skin — found primarily on thighs, buttocks and the stomach. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Aug. 2022 Detectives continue to search for Carlson’s remains. Anastasia Hufham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Aug. 2022 The national archivist said in February that Trump representatives would continue to search for additional records. Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times, 9 Aug. 2022 At least 28 people have died due to flooding in Kentucky as rescuers continue to search for missing people and the region braces for more rain. Alexandra Meeks, CNN, 1 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The multi-agency search effort took hours, with special equipment used to inspect the sewers and officers removing manholes from the streets. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 21 Sep. 2022 Green Township police and Hamilton County deputies executed a K-9 search during the evening, Brandt said in the email. Erin Couch, The Enquirer, 21 Sep. 2022 Cheney also criticized Republicans who have been defending Trump on the FBI's search of his Florida estate. Merdie Nzanga, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2022 Powell, who is Kraken’s largest shareholder and will stay on as chairman of its board, says the company ran an extensive CEO search and and interviewed more than a dozen candidates before settling on Ripley to succeed him. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, 21 Sep. 2022 Google has been more resilient but the search giant’s share price is also down 27.3% over the past year. Jeff Horwitz, WSJ, 21 Sep. 2022 In June, a man and woman were arrested at a hotel, and a search of their room found methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin, drug scales, and drug packaging materials, according to the release. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2022 In addition to its new features and settings, the app offers an enhanced user experience for basic tasks such as home screen navigation and search, ABC News said. Max Zahn, ABC News, 20 Sep. 2022 Being over 20 years ago, this was in the early stages of internet search. Jason Hennessey, Rolling Stone, 20 Sep. 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

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Dictionary Entries Near search

searcer

search

search and rescue team

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for search

Last Updated

22 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Search.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/search. Accessed 3 Oct. 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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