[ in-ves-ti-geyt ]
See synonyms for: investigateinvestigatedinvestigatinginvestigative on

verb (used with object),in·ves·ti·gat·ed, in·ves·ti·gat·ing.
  1. to examine, study, or inquire into systematically; search or examine into the particulars of; examine in detail.

  2. to search out and examine the particulars of in an attempt to learn the facts about something hidden, unique, or complex, especially in an attempt to find a motive, cause, or culprit: The police are investigating the murder.

verb (used without object),in·ves·ti·gat·ed, in·ves·ti·gat·ing.
  1. to make inquiry, examination, or investigation.

Origin of investigate

First recorded in 1500–10; from Latin investīgātus, past participle of investīgāre “to follow a trail, search out”; see in-2, vestige, -ate1

Other words from investigate

  • in·ves·ti·ga·tive, in·ves·ti·ga·to·ry [in-ves-ti-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], /ɪnˈvɛs tɪ gəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective
  • in·ves·ti·ga·tor, noun
  • pre·in·ves·ti·gate, verb, pre·in·ves·ti·gat·ed, pre·in·ves·ti·gat·ing.
  • pre·in·ves·ti·ga·tor, noun
  • qua·si-in·ves·ti·gat·ed, adjective
  • re·in·ves·ti·gate, verb, re·in·ves·ti·gat·ed, re·in·ves·ti·gat·ing.
  • un·in·ves·ti·gat·ed, adjective
  • un·in·ves·ti·gat·ing, adjective
  • un·in·ves·ti·ga·tive, adjective
  • un·in·ves·ti·ga·to·ry, adjective
  • well-in·ves·ti·gat·ed, adjective

Words Nearby investigate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use investigate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for investigate


/ (ɪnˈvɛstɪˌɡeɪt) /

  1. to inquire into (a situation or problem, esp a crime or death) thoroughly; examine systematically, esp in order to discover the truth

Origin of investigate

C16: from Latin investīgāre to search after, from in- ² + vestīgium track; see vestige

Derived forms of investigate

  • investigable, adjective
  • investigative or investigatory, adjective

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