Meaning of SEARCH in English


I. search 1 S3 W2 /sɜːtʃ $ sɜːrtʃ/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ search , ↑ research , ↑ researcher ; verb : ↑ search , ↑ research ; adverb : ↑ searchingly ; adjective : ↑ searching ]

1 . [countable usually singular] an attempt to find someone or something

search for

Bad weather is hampering the search for survivors.

search of

Two more bodies were found after a search of the woods.

2 . [countable] a series of actions done by a computer to find information

search of

a computerized search of 10,000 medical journals

A search found 46 websites.

an online search

perform/run/do a search

Do a search on ‘rabbit’ and see what it brings up.

3 . in search of something looking for something:

Mark went in search of water.

4 . [singular] an attempt to find an explanation or solution

search for

the search for a cure

• • •


■ verbs

▪ carry out a search ( also conduct a search formal )

Police have carried out a search of his home.

▪ launch/mount a search (=start a search)

A massive search was launched for the former soldier.

▪ call off/abandon a search

They called off the search when it got dark.


▪ a thorough/careful search

We conducted a thorough search of the building.

▪ a painstaking search (=a very careful search)

Police officers carried out a painstaking search of the area around the house.

▪ a systematic search (=one done in an organized way)

They set about a systematic search of the ship.

▪ a desperate/frantic search

After the war, many people returned to rural areas in a desperate search for food.

▪ a fruitless search (=an unsuccessful one)

I spent many hours in a fruitless search for accommodation.

▪ a police search

Her disappearance sparked a massive police search.

▪ a nationwide search (=in every part of a country)

Kim was missing for two months, prompting a nationwide search.

▪ a house-to-house search (=a search of every house or building in an area)

Police are conducting house-to-house searches in the area where the girl disappeared.

▪ a fingertip search British English (=a careful search for clues by police officers)

Police have started a fingertip search of the area and appealed for witnesses.

■ phrases

▪ the search is on (=people are trying to find someone or something)

The search is on for someone with the same blood type.

▪ a search is underway (=it has started)

A search is underway for two walkers in the Cairngorm mountains.

■ search + NOUN

▪ the search area

The search area has now been widened.

• • •


■ things you do when using the Internet

▪ surf the net verb to look quickly through information on the Internet, looking for anything that interests you:

He spends his evenings surfing the net.

▪ search to look for a specific piece of information on the Internet, for example by entering text into a box:

Try searching for his name on Google.

▪ shop/book online to buy things or reserve tickets using the Internet:

More and more people are preferring to shop online.


It’s easier to book online.

▪ visit a website to look at a particular Internet site:

You can check to see how many people visit your website.

▪ download to get files, programs, music, films etc from the Internet and put them on your own computer:

I downloaded the software for free from the Internet.

▪ chat to communicate with several people in a ↑ chat room on the Internet:

Using the Internet, you can chat to people from around the world.

II. search 2 W3 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ search , ↑ research , ↑ researcher ; verb : ↑ search , ↑ research ; adverb : ↑ searchingly ; adjective : ↑ searching ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: cerchier 'to go around, examine, search' , from Late Latin circare 'to go around' , from Latin circum 'around' ]

1 . LOOKING [intransitive and transitive] to try to find someone or something by looking very carefully:

It was too dark to search further.

The area was thoroughly searched.

search for

An RAF plane searched for the missing men.

I’ve searched high and low (=everywhere) for my glasses.

search something for something

Detectives are searching the yard for clues.

search in/under/through etc

Alice bent to search through a heap of clothes.

2 . COMPUTER [transitive] to use a computer to find information

search something for something

Search the Web for cheap flights.

3 . PERSON [transitive] if someone in authority searches you or the things you are carrying, they look for things you might be hiding

search somebody for something

He was searched by the guards for weapons.

4 . SOLUTION [intransitive] to try to find an explanation or solution

search for

Scientists are still searching for a cure.

She paused, searching for inspiration.

5 . search me! spoken used to tell someone that you do not know the answer to a question:

‘Where is she?’ ‘Search me!’

6 . EXAMINE [transitive] to examine something carefully in order to find something out, decide something etc:

Anya searched his face anxiously.

—searcher noun [countable]

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■ adverbs

▪ search something carefully

We searched the whole house carefully, but didn’t find anything.

▪ search something thoroughly

They searched the garden thoroughly.

▪ search frantically/desperately (=in a hurried way, because you feel very worried)

Panic-stricken parents frantically searched for their children.

▪ search high and low (=search everywhere)

We searched high and low for him, but couldn’t find him.

▪ search something from top to bottom (=search all the rooms in a building)

They searched the house from top to bottom.

▪ search in vain

He searched in vain for a means of escape.

• • •


▪ search to look carefully for someone or something:

Detectives continue to search for clues.


She searched through all his clothes.

▪ look for somebody/something to try to get someone or something you want or need:

I’m looking for something to wear for my sister’s wedding.


The band is looking for a singer.


He’s decided to look for a new career.

▪ try to find somebody/something used especially when someone or something is difficult to find:

I spent half an hour trying to find a parking space.


She was in the kitchen, trying to find something to eat that wasn’t raw carrot.

▪ seek formal to try to find something or someone. Used especially about jobs, help, or information. Also used in newspaper advertisements when trying to find a suitable person:

They went there seeking work.


She decided to seek help.


Tall blond 18-year-old male seeks female 17+ for friendship.

▪ hunt to look for someone or something. Used when you look very carefully and thoroughly, or in the phrase house/job/bargain hunting :

I’ve hunted everywhere, but I can’t find a recipe for French onion soup.


She’s gone out bargain-hunting in the sales.

▪ be on the lookout for somebody/something to be continuously looking for someone or something:

I’m always on the lookout for a good bargain.

▪ leave no stone unturned to look for someone or something in every possible place:

The police say they will leave no stone unturned in their search for the killer.

search something ↔ out phrasal verb

to find something by searching:

We were too tired to search out extra blankets.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.