from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To observe or inquire into in detail; examine systematically.
  • intransitive v. To make a detailed inquiry or systematic examination.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To inquire into or study in order to ascertain facts or information.
  • v. To examine, look into, or scrutinize in order to discover something hidden or secret.
  • v. To conduct an inquiry or examination.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To pursue a course of investigation and study; to make investigation.
  • transitive v. To follow up step by step by patient inquiry or observation; to trace or track mentally; to search into; to inquire and examine into with care and accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To search into or search out; inquire into; search or examine into the particulars of; examine in detail: as, to investigate the forces of nature; to investigate the causes of natural phenomena; to investigate the conduct of an agent.
  • Synonyms To scrutinize, overhaul, sift, probe into, explore, study.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. investigate scientifically
  • v. conduct an inquiry or investigation of


Latin investīgāre, investīgāt- : in-, in; see in-2 + vestīgāre, to track (from vestīgium, footprint).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Recorded since circa 1510, a back-formation from investigation, from Latin investigatio "a searching into", from investigatus, the past participle of investigare, itself from in- "in(to)" + vestigare "to track, trace" (from vestigium "footprint, track", of unknown origin) (Wiktionary)



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