[ sur-ching ]
/ ˈsɜr tʃɪŋ /


examining carefully or thoroughly: a searching inspection.
acutely observant or penetrating: a searching glance; a searching mind.
piercing or sharp: a searching wind.

Nearby words

  1. search term,
  2. search warrant,
  3. search, right of,
  4. searchable,
  5. searcher,
  6. searchingly,
  7. searchless,
  8. searchlight,
  9. searcy,
  10. searing

Origin of searching

First recorded in 1570–80; search + -ing2

Related forms


[ surch ]
/ sɜrtʃ /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to inquire, investigate, examine, or seek; conduct an examination or investigation.


Origin of search

1300–50; (v.) Middle English serchen, cerchen (< Anglo-French sercher) < Old French cerchier < Late Latin circāre to go around, derivative of Latin circus circle; (noun) Middle English serche < Anglo-French serche, Old French cerche, derivative of cerchier

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for searching

British Dictionary definitions for searching


/ (ˈsɜːtʃɪŋ) /


keenly penetratinga searching look
Derived Formssearchingly, adverbsearchingness, noun


/ (sɜːtʃ) /



Derived Formssearchable, adjectivesearcher, noun

Word Origin for search

C14: from Old French cerchier, from Late Latin circāre to go around, from Latin circus circle

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 searching
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with searching


In addition to the idiom beginning with search

  • search me

also see:

  • high and low, search
  • in search of
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.