search

verb
\ ˈsərch How to pronounce search (audio) \
searched; searching; searches

Essential Meaning of search

1 : to carefully look for someone or something : to try to find someone or something They haven't found him yet, so they have to keep searching. They searched among/through the wreckage (for survivors). We searched [=looked] everywhere but we couldn't find the keys.
2 : to carefully look for someone or something in (something) Police searched the vehicle.
3 : to carefully look through the clothing of (someone) for something that may be hidden The police searched her for concealed weapons. He was searched by the guard before he was allowed to enter the courtroom.

Full 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 The grim details come as authorities continue to search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who was traveling with her before her death. Victoria Albert, CBS News, 12 Oct. 2021 The Buckeyes continue to search for a consistently reliable fourth option, but the first priority is also bringing Brown back to full health. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 7 Oct. 2021 As of Friday morning, police continue to search for Laundrie. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Oct. 2021 The blaze, which has burned through multiple counties in Northern California, is mostly contained, but due to the parched landscape, firefighters continue to search for new fire activity. Joaquin Palomino, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Sep. 2021 Now, six days later, agents continue to search the 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve wilderness area near North Port, Florida, where Laundrie’s family claim he was last seen. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 24 Sep. 2021 Local and federal officials continue to search for any signs of Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve, a roughly 25,000-acre nature preserve near his parents' home in North Port. Jenn Selva And Travis Caldwell, CNN, 24 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile, authorities continue to search a swampy Florida preserve area near the home of Petito's boyfriend. Curt Anderson, Chron, 21 Sep. 2021 As automotive OEMs continue to search for the best battery technologies to enable higher-performing (yet reasonably priced) EVs to meet explosive market demand, the historical protocols and processes have shifted in notable ways. Rick Luebbe, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Needing a new one after his ripped late in the first quarter, Marks left the field in search for a replacement. Matt Goul, cleveland, 14 Oct. 2021 Assistant Police Chief Manny Morales was appointed as interim chief of the Miami Police Department as the city engages in the search for a permanent replacement, Noriega said. Emma Tucker, CNN, 14 Oct. 2021 Born to a poor family from Guangzhou, China, Po migrated to the Philippines with his mother in 1947 in search for greener pastures. Jonathan Burgos, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 Authorities have found human remains in the search for Lauren Cho in California’s Yucca Valley, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department announced Sunday. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 12 Oct. 2021 The World Health Organization has requested access to China’s wildlife farming areas such as Enshi, calling it a key step in the search for the origins of the coronavirus. Michael Standaert And Eva Dou, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Oct. 2021 The city assisted in a search for affordable units for the residents at that time. Steve Lord, chicagotribune.com, 11 Oct. 2021 Brian’s parents had not been physically involved in the extensive search for their son until Thursday, after law enforcement asked Chris Laundrie to assist in that day’s efforts, their attorney said. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, 11 Oct. 2021 Petito's remains were found near Grand Teton National Park, and those discovered in the search for Cho were found near Joshua Tree National Park. NBC News, 11 Oct. 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

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Search.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/search. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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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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