Definition of investigate in English:


Syllabification: in·ves·ti·gate
Pronunciation: /inˈvestiˌgāt


[with object]
  • 1Carry out a systematic or formal inquiry to discover and examine the facts of (an incident, allegation, etc.) so as to establish the truth: police are investigating the alleged beating
    More example sentences
    • Police investigated allegations that the incident involved violence.
    • The Home Office also revealed the Police Complaints Authority - which investigates serious incidents and allegations of malpractice - is reviewing the high accident level.
    • When the police were investigating the incident they discovered safe-breaking equipment in the dormobile.
  • 1.1Carry out research or study into (a subject, typically one in a scientific or academic field) so as to discover facts or information: [with clause]: future studies will investigate whether long-term use of the drugs could prevent cancer
    More example sentences
    • Few studies have investigated this subject in relation to Ramadan.
    • The goal of the present study was to investigate the foregoing issues.
    • Simm plays a human rights researcher investigating the plight of women being trafficked through Europe.
  • 1.2Make inquiries as to the character, activities, or background of (someone): everyone with a possible interest in your brother’s death must be thoroughly investigated
    More example sentences
    • He had the Shar woman up against the wall and was thoroughly investigating her for concealed weapons.
    • Anyone investigating me could find out that my immediate boss was named Jill.
    • We are investigating him for possible links to international gun - running.
  • 1.3 [no object] Make a check to find out something: when you didn’t turn up, I thought I’d better come back to investigate
    More example sentences
    • There's also the laboratory in which medicines are tested and illnesses investigated.
    • Tameside council auditors uncovered the payments during a routine check and may ask the Inland Revenue to investigate.
    • That is not inappropriate, if key service issues are to be properly tested and investigated.



Pronunciation: /-gəˌtôrē/
More example sentences
  • No investigatory tribunal has ever been established for the Thatcher period.
  • Of course, there would be a need for an investigatory body to examine those professors who were attempting to hide their ideological roots in a vain attempt to cling to their tenure.
  • The regulation of investigatory powers bill, which should become law by the summer, provides the legal framework which will make Britain the greatest surveillance society on Earth.


early 16th century: from Latin investigat- 'traced out', from the verb investigare, from in- 'into' + vestigare 'track, trace out'.

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