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

Up close, retirement-eligible shoppers elbow one another while pawing through the heap of vegetables, searching for some magical mystery cucumber. Jamie Feldmar, Los Angeles Times, "Super King is L.A.’s most beloved international supermarket — and the customers are fiercely loyal," 14 Aug. 2019 Macy's still has close to 700 US stores and has searched for new ways to draw customers on its website, mobile app and through buy online, pickup in store. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, "Macy's stock is tanking because it put too many clothes on sale during the spring," 14 Aug. 2019 The Washoe County Sheriff's Office search and rescue team scoured the dense forest with the help of a helicopter and search dogs. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Nevada parents frantic for answers after son Scott Madden disappeared one month ago," 14 Aug. 2019 Greg Buckler, deputy director of the Campbell County agency, said search parties would revisit the areas searched Tuesday, and if nothing was found, the search area will be expanded. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "River search continues for BB Riverboat employee," 14 Aug. 2019 That despite your searching, there can be no one else. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Why Am I So Obsessed With Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's Breakup?," 14 Aug. 2019 This has all meant that business travelers are increasingly searching for nontraditional rooms with extra space, kitchens, or amenities like pools to keeps kids occupied and entertained. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Airbnb bets big on business travelers," 13 Aug. 2019 His departure has the Wolverines searching for the next man up in the backfield. Matt Murschel, orlandosentinel.com, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 11 Michigan pushes to win elusive Big Ten title," 13 Aug. 2019 In his downtime, Hillenburg jammed raucously with friends, scoured the Saugus Swap Meet for weird toys, and searched for Walt Disney’s cryogenic tomb, which was only half-jokingly rumored to be secreted away on campus. Darryn King, Longreads, "The Young Man and the Sea Sponge," 13 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

During a search of the vehicle, police found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Thief steals hearing aids from unlocked vehicle: Parma Heights Police Blotter," 14 Aug. 2019 In the search for elusive space dust, scientists analyzed more than 1,100 lbs. Mindy Weisberger, Scientific American, "Space Dust from Ancient Supernova Found Hiding in Antarctica," 14 Aug. 2019 In the search for elusive space dust, scientists analyzed more than 1,100 lbs. Mindy Weisberger, NBC News, "Space dust from ancient supernova found hiding in Antarctica," 14 Aug. 2019 Other items seized by the investigators during the searches included a journal kept by Washington with steps to building an improvised explosive device, as well as manuals on how to build IEDs and military-grade suppressors. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Ex-soldier from Birmingham dealt in guns, contacted terrorists and will remain locked up, judge says," 12 Aug. 2019 The search continues Monday for a masked man accused of causing a panic inside the Memorial City Mall a day earlier. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Police continue search for masked man who sparked panic inside Memorial City Mall," 12 Aug. 2019 Two pistols and drugs were seized from the 24-year-old Kettering man's apartment during a search. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Feds: Friend of Dayton shooter bought firearm parts for him," 12 Aug. 2019 Cops then found three loaded handguns, a semi-automatic rifle, extended magazines, a ballistic vest and marijuana during a search of his vehicle. oregonlive.com, "Former Portland Trail Blazer Sebastian Telfair sentenced to three and a half years in prison for gun possession," 12 Aug. 2019 Now, as those children turn 50, the search continues. Currie Engel, Time, "People Were Born and Died at Woodstock. Here Are Their Stories," 9 Aug. 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

17 Aug 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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