I. probe 1 /prəʊb $ proʊb/ BrE AmE verb [intransitive and transitive]
1 . to ask questions in order to find things out, especially things that other people do not want you to know
I don’t want to probe too deeply into your personal affairs.
Police probed claims that he had sold drugs.
2 . to look for something or examine something, using a long thin object:
Jules probed the mud gingerly with a stick.
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▪ investigate to try to find out the truth about something such as a crime, accident, or scientific problem:
Police are investigating an explosion in the city centre.
The aim of the study is to investigate how climate change is affecting animal behaviour.
There were fears he may have drowned in the lake, so divers were sent down to investigate.
▪ look into something to find out more about a problem, especially after someone has asked you to do this:
The manager promised to look into my complaint.
Please could you look into the matter for me?
▪ explore to consider or discuss something, in order to help you decide what you should do:
Military leaders are exploring new ways of defending the United States from terrorism.
I’m going to explore the possibility of a part-time job.
▪ probe [intransitive and transitive] to try to find secret or hidden information, especially by asking questions:
The press began probing into the actor’s private life.
We have been probing the reasons why the government has been so slow to react to the problem of climate change.
▪ delve [intransitive] to look somewhere in order to try to find more information about something, especially something that is difficult to find out about:
Over the past year Ms Deen has been delving into the national archives, in order to discover information on the early Muslim settlers.
I think we need to delve a little deeper.
▪ be under investigation if someone or their activities are under investigation, the police are trying to find out if they have done something illegal:
Several public figures are under investigation for corruption.
II. probe 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1500-1600 ; Language: Medieval Latin ; Origin: proba , from Latin probare 'to test, prove' ]
1 . a long thin metal instrument that doctors and scientists use to examine parts of the body
2 . a ↑ space probe
3 . an ↑ investigation in which many questions are asked to discover the truth about something:
a police corruption probe
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▪ investigation a process in which the police or another organization try to find out the truth about a crime or accident:
Following a major police investigation, two men were arrested.
The investigation into the causes of the air crash are continuing.
▪ inquiry an official process to find out why something happened, which usually takes several months or years:
Local people are calling for an inquiry into the accident.
An independent inquiry found serious shortcomings at the children’s home.
▪ case a matter that police or officials are trying to find out information about, especially so that it can be dealt with in a court of law:
The case has never been solved.
The police say it is one of the most puzzling cases they have had to deal with.
▪ probe an investigation in which many questions are asked to find out the truth about something – used especially in journalism:
The TV show featured a probe into charges charged by high street banks.
▪ inquest a legal investigation to find out why someone died:
The inquest heard that Mr Swan was poisoned.
▪ survey a process in which people are asked questions in order to find out about their opinions or about their behaviour:
They did a survey to find out the most popular pop star.
Based on a survey of 250 companies, the report says that ‘ over two thirds of companies expect operating costs to increase as a result of addressing environmental issues.
▪ autopsy British English a medical examination of a dead person’s body, to find out why that person died:
If she died of a drug overdose, it would show up in the autopsy.