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verb (used with object)
  1. to look carefully at or over; view closely and critically: to inspect every part of the motor.
  2. to view or examine formally or officially: The general inspected the troops.
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Origin of inspect

1615–25; < Latin inspectus, past participle of inspicere to look into, inspect. See in-2, species
Related formsin·spect·a·ble, adjectivein·spect·a·bil·i·ty, nounin·spect·ing·ly, adverbpre·in·spect, verb (used with object)qua·si-in·spect·ed, adjectivere·in·spect, verb (used with object)self-in·spect·ed, adjectiveun·in·spect·ed, adjectivewell-in·spect·ed, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for inspect

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • After that she must pin it on, and slip in to stand before his mirror and inspect the result.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Christine and Palmer Howe came in to see her, and to inspect the balcony, now finished.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • He thanked her with unnecessary effusion and turned to inspect the glassware.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • You can inspect them when you like, Arthur; now, if you please.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • I told them that the Admiral was going out with us to inspect the lock.

British Dictionary definitions for inspect


verb (tr)
  1. to examine closely, esp for faults or errors
  2. to scrutinize officially (a document, military personnel on ceremonial parade, etc)
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Derived Formsinspectable, adjectiveinspectingly, adverbinspection, nouninspectional, adjectiveinspective, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Latin inspicere, from specere to look
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for inspect


1620s, from Latin inspectus, past participle of inspicere "to look into" (see inspection). Related: Inspected; inspecting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper