investigate [in-ves-ti-geyt] Word Origin verb (used with object), in·ves·ti·gat·ed, in·ves·ti·gat·ing.
- to examine, study, or inquire into systematically; search or examine into the particulars of; examine in detail.
- to search out and examine the particulars of in an attempt to learn the facts about something hidden, unique, or complex, especially in an attempt to find a motive, cause, or culprit: The police are investigating the murder.
verb (used without object), in·ves·ti·gat·ed, in·ves·ti·gat·ing.
- to make inquiry, examination, or investigation.
Origin of investigate 1500–10; Latin investīgātus, past participle of investīgāre to follow a trail, search out. See in-2, vestige, -ate1 Related formsin·ves·ti·ga·tive, in·ves·ti·ga·to·ry [in-ves-ti-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈvɛs tɪ gəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivein·ves·ti·ga·tor, nounpre·in·ves·ti·gate, verb, pre·in·ves·ti·gat·ed, pre·in·ves·ti·gat·ing.pre·in·ves·ti·ga·tor, nounqua·si-in·ves·ti·gat·ed, adjectivere·in·ves·ti·gate, verb, re·in·ves·ti·gat·ed, re·in·ves·ti·gat·ing.un·in·ves·ti·gat·ed, adjectiveun·in·ves·ti·gat·ing, adjectiveun·in·ves·ti·ga·tive, adjectiveun·in·ves·ti·ga·to·ry, adjectivewell-in·ves·ti·gat·ed, adjective British Dictionary definitions for well-investigated investigate verb
- to inquire into (a situation or problem, esp a crime or death) thoroughly; examine systematically, esp in order to discover the truth
Derived Formsinvestigable, adjectiveinvestigative or investigatory, adjectiveWord Origin for investigate C16: from Latin investīgāre to search after, from in- ² + vestīgium track; see vestige Word Origin and History for well-investigated investigate v.
c.1500, back-formation from investigation, or else from Latin investigatus, past participle of investigare “to trace out, search after” (see investigation). Related: Investigated; investigating.