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Origin of investigation

1400–50; late Middle English investigacio(u)n < Latin investīgātiōn- (stem of investīgātiō). See investigate, -ion
Related formsin·ves·ti·ga·tion·al, adjectivepre·in·ves·ti·ga·tion, nounre·in·ves·ti·ga·tion, noun

Synonyms for investigation

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1, 2. scrutiny, exploration. Investigation, examination, inquiry, research express the idea of an active effort to find out something. An investigation is a systematic, minute, and thorough attempt to learn the facts about something complex or hidden; it is often formal and official: an investigation of a bank failure. An examination is an orderly attempt to obtain information about or to make a test of something, often something presented for observation: a physical examination. An inquiry is an investigation made by asking questions rather than by inspection, or by study of available evidence: an inquiry into a proposed bond issue. Research is careful and sustained investigation. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for investigation

Contemporary Examples of investigation

Historical Examples of investigation

  • I had but to demand an investigation into the man's affairs.

  • The investigation had been brought about by a note one of the Stewards had received.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The Trainer pursued his investigation among the stable lads.


    W. A. Fraser

  • The commotion of pursuit and investigation was sweeping past her tent.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • And you really think that the investigation should be made in that direction?

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for investigation


  1. the act or process of investigating; a careful search or examination in order to discover facts, etc
Derived Formsinvestigational, 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

Word Origin and History for investigation

early 15c., from Old French investigacion (14c.), from Latin investigationem (nominative investigatio) "a searching into, a searching for," noun of action from past participle stem of investigare "to trace out, search after," from in- "in, into" (see in- (2)) + vestigare "to track, trace," from vestigium "footprint, track" (see vestige).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper