Definition of investigate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈvɛstɪɡeɪt/


[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 a claim that the man was beaten unconscious by a gang
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 or problem, typically one in a scientific or academic field): [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: /ɪnˈvɛstɪɡət(ə)ri/
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|ves¦ti|gate

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