Definition of explore in English:



[with object]
  • 1Travel through (an unfamiliar area) in order to learn about it.

    ‘he explored the Fontainebleau forest’
    figurative ‘the project encourages children to explore the world of photography’
    • ‘There are creeks which are worth exploring for their flora and fauna and grumpy fishermen living in huts with big dogs that threaten to leap into the water and take a chunk out of your paddles.’
    • ‘Part of the fun of a bike tour is the thrill of exploring a new area.’
    • ‘He slowly loped around the forest, exploring the area a bit out of pure boredom.’
    • ‘For the early manned missions to be seen as successful, the surface crew will need to explore large areas of Mars, ranging far from their base.’
    • ‘The area outside Ubud is worth exploring for its temples and scenery.’
    • ‘Around the island you'll find time portals; these allow you to travel through time and explore areas at different stages in history.’
    • ‘The young girl impatiently explored the large areas of the semi-darkened shop, searching for the auto-frame mechanic.’
    • ‘All members of the party were successful with the trek and spent the rest of the day exploring the site and learning a lot more about the history of the Incas.’
    • ‘I spent a lot of time trekking through the jungle, exploring uncharted areas and meeting primitive tribes, some were friendly but more often than not they were unfriendly.’
    • ‘It makes a good base for exploring the gorge area as well as to have a soak in the relaxing hot springs.’
    • ‘The compact city is easily explored on foot (not in high heels, though).’
    • ‘Many of us have never explored the unfamiliar areas of the city and are often unaware of the full potential experience and new attributes of the ever-maturing city centre.’
    • ‘We landed on top of what was left of the wreck and, after the usual checks, headed off to explore this unfamiliar site.’
    • ‘The Egyptian site then remained largely forgotten by dinosaur hunters until the Pennsylvania team began exploring the area in 1999.’
    • ‘Though the labyrinth has been explored for decades, the persistence of archaic survey techniques has led to only rudimentary maps.’
    • ‘We explore the surrounding areas and view the scenery through the eyes of lovers and friends.’
    • ‘Visitors can join 30-minute tours revealing the theatre's history, or explore dressing rooms, stage and scenery-making areas.’
    • ‘The town is small enough to be easily explored on foot.’
    • ‘Pohara is a very convenient centre for scenic trips and for exploring the area.’
    • ‘The company has estimated that by allowing people to arrive in the heart of the Cotswolds by train and then exploring the area by bike one million car miles a year are eliminated.’
    travel over, tour, traverse, range over
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    1. 1.1explore forno object Search for resources such as mineral deposits.
      ‘the company has been granted licences to explore for petroleum’
      • ‘Although a lot of people spent a lot of time exploring for tin they did not do very well.’
      • ‘But then, in 1981, the area was explored for diamonds.’
      • ‘He oversees the most profitable corporation in America, which operates oil refineries in 25 countries and explores for oil and gas on six continents.’
      • ‘In the relatively stable continental interiors the technique has been used, not only to explore for oil or other resources, but also to furnish data about the deep structure.’
      • ‘The primary application of such reflection seismology is exploring for offshore oil and gas deposits, but academic scientists also use the method for various geological studies.’
      • ‘The leaders discussed jointly exploring for undersea resources in the Gulf of Tonkin, known in China as the Beibu Gulf.’
      • ‘It was surveyed in 1900 by a geologist whose brief was to fill in the gaps on the map, and to explore for traces of mineral wealth.’
      • ‘We need to be exploring for more energy in our country, starting in the wildlife preserve up in Alaska.’
      • ‘The consortium then sent experts to the region south of Kabul to explore for copper and other mineral deposits.’
      • ‘And with a dozen or so companies already exploring for uranium, worth potentially billions of dollars, he says the Territory's stance was nonsensical.’
      • ‘Yet, it was always on my mind while exploring for minerals around Challis.’
      • ‘Underneath all of this beauty can be found vast oil reserves which are yet unexplored - only 30 percent of Colombia has been explored for oil to date.’
      • ‘If prices stay up, oil companies will start pumping in fields that are unprofitable at lower prices, and will pour money into exploring for new fields.’
      • ‘Why is the mining company still exploring for iron ore?’
      • ‘Japan claims 12 other areas that China is already exploring for oil and gas.’
      • ‘One of the companies exploring for minerals is searching for zinc and hoping to find other by-products.’
      • ‘Obviously, nothing prevents potentially rivalrous entrepreneurs from exploring for and exploiting new supplies of a specific resource.’
      • ‘Special allowances are given for expenditure incurred in exploring for minerals and petroleum resources and mine development expenditure.’
      • ‘There is a group of minerals, as the Minister will well know, that are the property of the Crown and the Crown can grant licences to others to explore for those minerals.’
      • ‘To be fair, some of the area has yet to be explored for minerals.’
  • 2Inquire into or discuss (a subject) in detail.

    ‘he sets out to explore fundamental questions’
    • ‘The audience is invited to take part in a one-hour post-show workshop and discussion, to explore issues raised in the play.’
    • ‘The exhibit also explores how designers double as producers, working to initiate ideas and make them concrete.’
    • ‘Her ‘public ego’ theory is a relatively new one she is currently exploring for a new book.’
    • ‘If a woman had a genuine fear of childbirth, the issue was explored and discussed in a balanced manner.’
    • ‘Psychologists and other social scientists are actively exploring issues like these.’
    • ‘The play explores at length the motives that might cause someone to perpetrate such deeds.’
    • ‘The exhibit also explores how the structures affect the world around them.’
    • ‘Peer-to-peer phone conferences are used to further explore the topics being discussed.’
    • ‘Love must be one of the most thoroughly explored topics there is.’
    • ‘The site also offers general essays which explore themes common to many of the songs.’
    • ‘The first article explores the struggles associated with the implementation of acquisition policy.’
    • ‘The author explores in depth the obstacles they confronted and the strategies they employed to survive and even prosper.’
    • ‘The last chapter explored what comes through texts, and how we go about understanding and knowing the past.’
    • ‘I do not think that they fully explored all the issues that could be explored.’
    • ‘I explore this issue by discussing how actions and events are to be individuated, focusing on problem cases which raise difficulties concerning the location or time of occurrence of an action or an event.’
    • ‘To sustain this thesis, this essay explores three interrelated issues.’
    • ‘A panel discussion will explore the myriad issues surrounding rapidly emerging biotechnology and how it relates to world trade.’
    • ‘Not only do they not find it harmful, but in some instances it has helped them to discuss and explore issues of theology and faith.’
    • ‘Our numerical study reveals three remarkable features, which we explored using theoretical considerations.’
    • ‘We asked the groups to discuss the case and explore the implementation issues arising from it as well as the doctor's feelings about these issues.’
    deal with, be about, cover, be concerned with, concern itself with, discuss, speak about, talk about, write about, go into, investigate, tackle, handle
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    1. 2.1 Examine or evaluate (an option or possibility)
      ‘the firm will explore joint development projects’
      • ‘Instead of saying that we are left with no other option, let us explore other possibilities.’
      • ‘They're exploring every avenue available and have promised to fight for their school.’
      • ‘He is exploring the possibility of adding Korean firms to his joint venture centre to take advantage of the abundance of native Korean speakers in the area.’
      • ‘Many businesses have yet to fully explore the possibilities of their web sites and the Internet.’
      • ‘As always, I use the search engine to sniff for clues when I need to explore possibilities and options.’
      • ‘He wants to help small and midsized firms explore their options to the fullest extent.’
      • ‘The research team is now exploring the possibility of using eye contact sensor glasses to treat children with autistic spectrum disorder.’
      • ‘Members approved the application and asked officers to explore the three options, giving priority to the development of the garage site.’
      • ‘In consultation with university administrators, the board encouraged foundation leaders to explore options.’
      • ‘I just think that we need to explore all the avenues, you know?’
      • ‘We are having an organising conference on the 24th of November to explore which way we can use this.’
      • ‘This possibility was explored by examining negative emotionality immediately prior to psychophysiological data collection.’
      • ‘We are also exploring options of what developments could go ahead without removing the covenants.’
      • ‘More research is urged to explore the possibility of future collaboration between proprietary schools and community colleges.’
      • ‘Further research is needed to explore this possibility.’
      • ‘This is why I want fleet managers, car hire firms, taxi companies and individual motorists to explore the liquefied petroleum gas option.’
      • ‘Commercial entities, particularly those at port locations are actively exploring these options.’
      • ‘They also can explore all the career avenues open to them through the recruiting exhibitors.’
      • ‘He added the firm is exploring the possibility of contributing money to a cycle route on the former branch railway line linking Malmesbury with Little Somerford.’
      • ‘The second issue for further study entails exploring the options for development that overcome or compensate for locational disadvantages.’
      investigate, look into, look over, enquire into, consider, check out
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  • 3Examine by touch.

    ‘her fingers explored his hair’
    • ‘Her hands slipped under his shirt touching, exploring every muscle.’
    • ‘As the story unfolds, she then responds to the children's comments and allows the toddlers to explore the book by touching.’
    • ‘Without further consent, Michael bowed my head forward and his fingers explored my hair around the back of my head while he searched for a visible injury of some kind.’
    • ‘Gently, Vincent's nimble fingers explored the hole, trying to determine how deep the bullet had gone.’
    • ‘Gingerly he explores them with his fingers and is relieved to discover them merely tightly bandaged.’
    • ‘In hospital, he was given a blue toy truck to hold before his operation, his small hands touching, probing, exploring the size of it, the shape of it.’
    • ‘He wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, then allowed the tips of his fingers to explore the smooth skin between his hairline and his nose.’
    • ‘Children also need to touch and explore things to gain mastery and may find it difficult to sit still or stay in one place long enough to participate in talk therapy.’
    • ‘She encourages her audience to touch and explore her artwork.’
    • ‘Frantically, her fingers explored the cloth until they alighted upon a cool piece of knobby metal - the crucifix on the end of her rosary.’
    • ‘He opened his mouth to protest again but she was searching for words while her finger explored the rust on his car.’
    • ‘The nerve endings on his fingers had become ultra sensitive and he explored his hair as if it were the deep jungle of Viet Nam.’
    • ‘A little finger explored the button on Stray's hat with fascination.’
    • ‘As far as I'm concerned, most lovers don't spend enough time touching, discovering and exploring each other.’
    • ‘The baby proceeded to explore Nicholas, poking his face and tugging on his hair, giggling the entire time.’
    • ‘He took up one of her hands and manipulated the fingers, exploring their flexibility.’
    • ‘It understands and explores the world through touch, and it has a vast repertoire of non-verbal forms of communication.’
    • ‘My beautiful baby was in my arms and close to my chest, her soft fingers exploring the line of my chin.’
    • ‘Trinkets that glittered, metallic objects that shined, and even funny shaped circles of varying size and color that had a dull glint to them called to her to touch and explore them.’
    • ‘‘Yes,’ he said, looking out to sea while his fingers explored the thing.’
    examine, feel, feel around, prod, poke, check
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  • 4Medicine
    Surgically examine (a wound or part of the body) in detail.

    ‘he decided to explore the lesion to establish the diagnosis’
    • ‘The wound should be explored, copiously irrigated, and surgically debrided.’
    • ‘After three minutes, he removed the sponge to explore the wound further.’
    • ‘The decision was then made to explore the ear surgically.’
    • ‘One perforation resolved on conservative management with nasogastric feeding and the other was successfully explored and surgically repaired.’
    • ‘The patient was surgically explored on the second day of life.’


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘investigate (why)’): from French explorer, from Latin explorare ‘search out’, from ex- ‘out’ + plorare ‘utter a cry’.