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search definition


This page has 7 definitions of search in English. Search is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use search in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Search



From Middle English serchen, borrowed from Anglo-Norman sercher, Old French cerchier, from Late Latin circō, circāre (to circle; go around; search for), from Latin circa, circus. Not related to German suchen, which is cognate with English seek.



search (countable and uncountable, plural searches)

  1. An attempt to find something.
    • 2012 October 31, David M. Halbfinger, "[1]," New York Times (retrieved 31 October 2012):
      At least eight people died, and officials expressed deep concerns that the toll would rise as more searches of homes were carried out.
    With only five minutes until we were meant to leave, the search for the keys started in earnest.
  2. The act of searching in general.
    • 2013 June 14, Jonathan Freedland, “Obama's once hip brand is now tainted”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 18:
      Where we once sent love letters in a sealed envelope, or stuck photographs of our children in a family album, now such private material is despatched to servers and clouds operated by people we don't know and will never meet. Perhaps we assume that our name, address and search preferences will be viewed by some unseen pair of corporate eyes, probably not human, and don't mind that much.
    Search is a hard problem for computers to solve efficiently.

Related terms



search (third-person singular simple present searches, present participle searching, simple past and past participle searched)

  1. (transitive) To look in (a place) for something.
    I searched the garden for the keys and found them in the vegetable patch.
  2. (intransitive, followed by "for") To look thoroughly.
    The police are searching for evidence in his flat.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. [], London: [] Eliz[abeth] Holt, for Thomas Basset, [], OCLC 153628242:
      It sufficeth that they have once with care and fairness sifted the matter as far as they could, and searched into all the particulars.
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter I, in The Squire’s Daughter, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published 1919, OCLC 491297620:
      He tried to persuade Cicely to stay away from the ball-room for a fourth dance. [] But she said she must go back, and when they joined the crowd again [] she found her mother standing up before the seat on which she had sat all the evening searching anxiously for her with her eyes, and her father by her side.
    • 2013 July 6, “The rise of smart beta”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8843, page 68:
      Investors face a quandary. Cash offers a return of virtually zero in many developed countries; government-bond yields may have risen in recent weeks but they are still unattractive. Equities have suffered two big bear markets since 2000 and are wobbling again. It is hardly surprising that pension funds, insurers and endowments are searching for new sources of return.
  3. (transitive, now rare) To look for, seek.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To probe or examine (a wound).
  5. (obsolete) To examine; to try; to put to the test.


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