1. An examination of a person's body, property, or other area that the person would reasonably be expected to consider as private, conducted by a law-enforcement officer for the purpose of finding evidence for a crime (or putting evidence for an alleged crime. -k). *Because the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches (as well as seizures), a search cannot ordinarily be conducted without probable cause.

2 An examination of public documents for information; esp. TITLE SEARCH.

3. Int'l law.. The wartime process of boarding and examining the contents of a merchant vessel for contraband. *A number of treaties regulate the manner in which the search must be conducted. See RIGHT OF PASSAGE.

Administrative search. A search of public or commercial premises carried out by a regulatory authority for the purpose of enforcing compliance with health, safety, or security regulations. The probable cause required for an AS is less stringent than that required for a search incident to a criminal investigation. - Also termed regulatory search; inspection search.

Border search. A search conducted by immigration or customs officials at the border of a country to detect and prevent illegal entries of people or things. * A border search requires no warrant.

Checkpoint search. A search anywhere on a military installation.

Consent search. A warrantless search conducted after the person who is to be searched or who has authority over the property to be searched voluntarily gives consent. "The voluntariness of a consent to search is 'to be determined from the totality of all circumstances.' [Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 993 S. Ct. 2041 (1973).] Among the factors to be considered in determining the effectiveness of an alleged consent to search are whether the defendant (1) has minimal schooling or was of low intelligence; (2) was mentally ill or intoxicated; (3) was overpowered by officers, handcuffed, or similarly subject to physical restriction; (5) has seized from him by the police the keys to the premises thereafter searched; (6) employed evasive conduct or atempted to mislead the police; (7) denied guilt or the presence of any incriminatory objects in his premises; (8) earlier gave a valid confession or otherwise cooperated, as by instigating the search, or at least the investigation leading to the search; or (10) was refused his request to consult with counsel. The presence of some of these factors is not controlling, however, as each case must stand or fall on its own special facts." Jerold H. Israel & Wayne R. Lafave, Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell 141-142 (5th ed. 1993).

Constructive search. A subpoena of a corporation's records.

Exigent search. A warrantless search carried out in response to a sudden emergency, *This type of search is often performed to preserve evidence or to ensure the safety of the arresting officers.

Inventory search. A complete search of an arrestee's person before being booked into jail. *All possessions found are typically held in police custody.

No-knock search. A search of property by the police without knocking and announcing their presence and purpose before entry. *A no-knock search warrant may be issued under limited circumstances, as when a prior announcement would lead to the destruction of the objects searched for, or would endanger the safety of the police officer or another person.

Private search. A search conducted by a private person rather than by a law-enforcement officer. *Items found in a private search are generally admissable in evidence if the person conducting the search was not acting at the direction of a law-enforcement officer.

Protective search. A search of a detained suspect and the area within the suspect's immediate control, conducted to protect the arresting officer's safety (as from a concealed weapon) and often to preserve evidence. *A protective search can be conducted without a warrant. Chimel v. California, 395 U.S. 752, 89 S.Ct. 2034 (1969). - Also termed search incidence to arrest; Chimel search

Shakedown search. A usu. random and warrantless search for illicit or contraband material (such as weapons or drugs) in a prisoner's cell. - Often shortened to shakedown

Strip search. A search of a person conducted after that person's clothes have been removed, the purpose usu. being to find any contraband the person might be hiding.

Unreasonable search. A search conducted without probable cause or other considerations that would make it legally permissable. - Also termed illegal search

Voluntary search. A search in which no duress or coercion was applied to obtain the defendant's consent. See consent search.

zone search. A search of a crime scene (such as the scene of a fire or explosion) by dividing it up into specific sectors.


Search is the foundation of many techniques in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Examples of the application of search include planning, (board) game playing and automated deduction. Any problem that can be represented by discrete states and transitions between such states can be formulated as a search problem. For the purpose of this write up, these discrete states will be called search nodes. Solving a search problem involves finding a path of transitions from one search node to another.

A typical search problem is composed of a root node, a goal node, a successor function and an open list. The goal node is the state you want to reach through search. The root node is where you start your search from. The successor function defines which states are reachable from a given search node. The open list stores nodes which have yet to be examined. Some search problems also used a closed list to store nodes which have been previously seen by the search process (to prevent the search process from entering into loops).

To solve a search problem, the following algorithm can be used. First the root node is placed on the open list. Then, whilst the open list still contains nodes, the node at the head of the list is removed. If this node is equal to the goal node, then the node is returned (along with the path of transitions if this is necessary to solve the problem). If the node is not equal to the goal node, then the successor function is applied to it to generate any successor nodes that are reachable from it. These nodes are placed on the open list and, if necessary, the previously selected node is placed on the closed list. Then the head of the open list is selected again and the process continues.

Many different variation on this theme have been developed. Most variations sort the open list to alter the way in which the search process encounters new nodes. See best-first search, depth-first search, and A* for some common examples.

Search (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Searched (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Searching.] [OE. serchen, cerchen, OF. cerchier, F. chercher, L. circare to go about, fr. L. circum, circa, around. See Circle.]


To look over or through, for the purpose of finding something; to examine; to explore; as, to search the city.

"Search the Scriptures."

John v. 39.

They are come to search the house. Shak.

Search me, O God, and know my heart. Ps. cxxxix. 23.


To inquire after; to look for; to seek.

I will both search my sheep, and seek them out. Ezek. xxxiv. 11.

Enough is left besides to search and know. Milton.


To examine or explore by feeling with an instrument; to probe; as, to search a wound.


To examine; to try; to put to the test.

To search out, to seek till found; to find by seeking; as, to search out truth.

Syn. -- To explore; examine; scrutinize; seek; investigate; pry into; inquire.


© Webster 1913.

Search, v. i.

To seek; to look for something; to make inquiry, exploration, or examination; to hunt.

Once more search with me. Shak.

It sufficeth that they have once with care sifted the matter, and searched into all the particulars. Locke.


© Webster 1913.

Search, n. [Cf. OF. cerche. See Search, v. t.]

The act of seeking or looking for something; quest; inquiry; pursuit for finding something; examination.

Thus the orb he roamed With narrow search, and with inspection deep Considered every creature. Milton.

Nor did my search of liberty begin Till my black hairs were changed upon my chin. Dryden.

Right of search Mar.Law, the right of the lawfully commissioned cruisers of belligerent nations to examine and search private merchant vessels on the high seas, for the enemy's property or for articles contraband of war. -- Search warrant Law, a warrant legally issued, authorizing an examination or search of a house, or other place, for goods stolen, secreted, or concealed.

Syn. -- Scrutiny; examination; exploration; investigation; research; inquiry; quest; pursuit.


© Webster 1913.

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