• Search


    • RP IPA: /sɜːt͡ʃ/
    • GenAm IPA: /sɝt͡ʃ/
    • Rhymes: -ɜː(r\)tʃ


    From Middle English serchen, from Anglo-Norman sercher, Old French cerchier, from Latin circare.

    Full definition of search


    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.
      • John LockeIt sufficeth that they have once with care sifted the matter, and searched into all the particulars.
      • 2013-07-06, The rise of smart beta, 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. The police are searching for evidence in his flat.
    4. (transitive, now rare) To look for, seek.
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.vi:To search the God of loue, her Nymphes she sent
        Throughout the wandring forrest euery where ...
      • Bible, Ezekiel xxxiv. 11I will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
      • MiltonEnough is left besides to search and know.
    5. (transitive, obsolete) To probe or examine (a wound).
    6. (obsolete) To examine; to try; to put to the test.




    (plural searches)
    1. An attempt to find something.
    2. With only five minutes until we were meant to leave, the search for the keys started in earnest.
    3. The act of searching in general.
      • 2013-06-14, Jonathan Freedland, Obama's once hip brand is now tainted, 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.
    4. Search is a hard problem for computers to solve efficiently.

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