to go or look through (a place, area, etc.) carefully in order to find something missing or lost:
They searched the woods for the missing child. I searched the desk for the letter.
to look at or examine (a person, object, etc.) carefully in order to find something concealed:
He searched the vase for signs of a crack. The police searched the suspect for weapons.
to explore or examine in order to discover:
They searched the hills for gold.
to look at, read, or examine (a record, writing, collection, repository, etc.) for information:
to search a property title; He searched the courthouse for a record of the deed to the land.
to look at or beneath the superficial aspects of to discover a motive, reaction, feeling, basic truth, etc.:
He searched her face for a clue to her true feelings.
to look into, question, or scrutinize:
She searched her conscience.
(of natural elements) to pierce or penetrate:
The sunlight searched the room's dark corners.
to uncover or find by examination or exploration (often followed by out):
to search out all the facts.
Military. to fire artillery over (an area) with successive changes in gun elevation.
Computers. to electronically retrieve data, Web pages, database records, or other information from (files, databases, etc.) by typing relevant terms into a search engine or other search tool:
Most of us have searched the Internet for medical advice.
verb (used without object)
to inquire, investigate, examine, or seek; conduct an examination or investigation.
the act of searching; careful examination or investigation:
Her date with the guy she met online went badly, so her search for “Mr. Right” continues.
an instance of this:
Did the search turn up any clues?
the practice, on the part of naval officers of a belligerent nation, of boarding and examining a suspected neutral vessel at sea in order to ascertain its true nationality and determine if it is carrying contraband:
the right of visit and search.
Computers. the act or process of electronically retrieving data, Web pages, database records, or other information from files, databases, etc., as in Boolean search; keyword search:
A search of the article turned up two references to my company.
search me, I don't know:
Why has it taken so long to reach a decision? Search me.
1300-50; (v.) Middle Englishserchen,cerchen (< Anglo-Frenchsercher) < Old Frenchcerchier < Late Latincircāre to go around, derivative of Latincircus circle; (noun) Middle Englishserche < Anglo-Frenchserche,Old Frenchcerche, derivative of cerchier
to look through (a place, records, etc) thoroughly in order to find someone or something
(transitive) to examine (a person) for concealed objects by running one's hands over the clothing
to look at or examine (something) closely to search one's conscience
(transitive) foll by out. to discover by investigation
to explore (a bodily cavity) during a surgical procedure
to probe (a wound)
(transitive) (military) to fire all over (an area)
(computing) to review (a file) to locate specific information
(archaic) to penetrate
(informal) search me, I don't know
the act or an instance of searching
the examination of a vessel by the right of search
a review of a file to locate specific information
(as modifier) a search routine
(international law) right of search, the right possessed by the warships of a belligerent state in time of war to board and search merchant vessels to ascertain whether ship or cargo is liable to seizure
searchable, adjective searcher, noun
C14: from Old French cerchier, from Late Latin circāre to go around, from Latin circuscircle
early 14c., from O.Fr. cerchier "to search," from L. circare "go about, wander, traverse," from circus "circle." The noun is first recorded c.1400. Phrase search me as a verbal shrug of ignorance first recorded 1901. Search warrant first attested 1739. Search-light recorded from 1883.
An exclamation or acknowledgment of ignorance; beats me: Who said it? Search me, I couldn't say(1900+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with search me
I don't know the answer to that, as in Where's John?—Search me, I haven't seen him for weeks. This expression in effect means “you can investigate me completely for the information you want but you won't find it.”
[ ; c. 1900