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[in-ves-ti-geyt] /ɪnˈvɛs tɪˌgeɪt/
verb (used with object), investigated, investigating.
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), investigated, investigating.
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 forms
investigative, investigatory
[in-ves-ti-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈvɛs tɪ gəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
investigator, noun
preinvestigate, verb, preinvestigated, preinvestigating.
preinvestigator, noun
quasi-investigated, adjective
reinvestigate, verb, reinvestigated, reinvestigating.
uninvestigated, adjective
uninvestigating, adjective
uninvestigative, adjective
uninvestigatory, adjective
well-investigated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for investigative


to inquire into (a situation or problem, esp a crime or death) thoroughly; examine systematically, esp in order to discover the truth
Derived Forms
investigable, adjective
investigative, investigatory, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin investīgāre to search after, from in-² + vestīgium track; see vestige
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for investigative

1803, from Latin investigat-, past participle stem of investigare (see investigation) + -ive. Journalism sense is from 1951.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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