- examining carefully or thoroughly: a searching inspection.
- acutely observant or penetrating: a searching glance; a searching mind.
- piercing or sharp: a searching wind.
Origin of searching
- to go or look through (a place, area, etc.) carefully in order to find something missing or lost: They searched the woods for the missing child. I searched the desk for the letter.
- to look at or examine (a person, object, etc.) carefully in order to find something concealed: He searched the vase for signs of a crack. The police searched the suspect for weapons.
- to explore or examine in order to discover: They searched the hills for gold.
- to look at, read, or examine (a record, writing, collection, repository, etc.) for information: to search a property title; He searched the courthouse for a record of the deed to the land.
- to look at or beneath the superficial aspects of to discover a motive, reaction, feeling, basic truth, etc.: He searched her face for a clue to her true feelings.
- to look into, question, or scrutinize: She searched her conscience.
- (of natural elements) to pierce or penetrate: The sunlight searched the room's dark corners.
- to uncover or find by examination or exploration (often followed by out): to search out all the facts.
- Military. to fire artillery over (an area) with successive changes in gun elevation.
- Computers. to electronically retrieve data, Web pages, database records, or other information from (files, databases, etc.) by typing relevant terms into a search engine or other search tool: Most of us have searched the Internet for medical advice.
- to inquire, investigate, examine, or seek; conduct an examination or investigation.
- the act of searching; careful examination or investigation: Her date with the guy she met online went badly, so her search for “Mr. Right” continues.
- an instance of this: Did the search turn up any clues?
- the practice, on the part of naval officers of a belligerent nation, of boarding and examining a suspected neutral vessel at sea in order to ascertain its true nationality and determine if it is carrying contraband: the right of visit and search.
- Computers. the act or process of electronically retrieving data, Web pages, database records, or other information from files, databases, etc., as in Boolean search; keyword search: A search of the article turned up two references to my company.
- search me, I don't know: Why has it taken so long to reach a decision? Search me.
Origin of search
SynonymsSee more synonyms for search on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for searching
The FBI has also been searching its records for any information that could assist the French investigation, a spokesperson added.U.S. Spies See Al Qaeda Fingerprints on Paris Massacre
Shane Harris, Nancy A. Youssef
January 8, 2015
He tried this and tried that—he was just searching and searching.Alleged Cop Killer’s Blood-Soaked Screenplay
December 24, 2014
After a searching beat, Drew adds, “And that was the last fight we had.”How the Property Brothers Became Your Mom’s Favorite TV Stars
November 25, 2014
I was lost, fresh back from Vietnam, searching, maybe, for a peril the equivalent of war but aimed in the direction of life.What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
Pro-pipeline Democrats, meanwhile, appeared to be searching desperately for ways to turn a crushing defeat into a moral victory.Keystone Senate Failure Is Environmental Kabuki Theater
November 19, 2014
Yes, I meant no harm to Mortimer in searching for this evidence; it was only to clear your brother.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
It need hardly be said that a searching inquiry was instituted.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
The hot, searching, stifling African day took possession of the world.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
She seemed to be searching in the depths of her mind for some argument to oppose to my assertions.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
As we entered the ballroom, her eyes were wistful, searching, yet not expecting to find.It Happened in Egypt
C. N. Williamson
- keenly penetratinga searching look
- to look through (a place, records, etc) thoroughly in order to find someone or something
- (tr) to examine (a person) for concealed objects by running one's hands over the clothing
- to look at or examine (something) closelyto search one's conscience
- (tr foll by out) to discover by investigation
- to explore (a bodily cavity) during a surgical procedure
- to probe (a wound)
- (tr) military to fire all over (an area)
- computing to review (a file) to locate specific information
- archaic to penetrate
- search me informal I don't know
- the act or an instance of searching
- the examination of a vessel by the right of search
- a review of a file to locate specific information
- (as modifier)a search routine
- right of search international law the right possessed by the warships of a belligerent state in time of war to board and search merchant vessels to ascertain whether ship or cargo is liable to seizure
Word Origin and History for searching
c.1300, from Old French cerchier "to search" (12c., Modern French chercher), from Latin circare "go about, wander, traverse," in Late Latin "to wander hither and thither," from circus "circle" (see circus). Phrase search me as a verbal shrug of ignorance first recorded 1901. Search engine attested from 1988. Search and destroy as a modifier is 1966, American English, from the Vietnam War. Search and rescue is from 1944.
c.1400, "act of searching;" early 15c., "right to investigate illegal activity; examination of records, wills, etc.; a search through an area or a place," from Anglo-French serche, Old French cerche, from cerchier (see search (v.)). Search warrant attested from 1739.