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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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Examples from the Web for investigator
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At a little unpainted railroad station, the investigator broke in on Pendleton's thoughts by calling on the chauffeur to stop.

    Ashton-Kirk, Investigator John T. McIntyre
  • Its vagaries must be experienced and studied by any investigator of the atrocities of war.

  • All of which indicated to the investigator that Thomas for the present had not a high opinion of himself.

    The Voice in the Fog Harold MacGrath
  • Tweddle, I'll drop the investigator, and speak as man to man.

    The Tinted Venus F. Anstey
  • A further observation made by the investigator is that the chicks which obtained the lowest amount of lime were abnormally weak.

    The Dollar Hen Milo M. Hastings
British Dictionary definitions for investigator


a person who investigates, such as a private detective


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 investigator

1550s, a native agent-noun formation from investigate, or else from Latin investigator "he that searches into," agent noun from past participle stem of investigare (see investigation).



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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