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I found the word ‘graft probe’ in the headline of a Associate Press news in today’s Washington Post (April 11) reporting that former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is presently in detention in Sham El-Sheikh in Egypt.

Though I guess ‘graft probe’ means investigation of criminal act such as bribery, corruption and abuse of authority, I can’t find the word in any of English Japanese dictionaries at hand, Merriam, Webster Free Dictionary and Cambridge Dictionary Online. What does 'graft probe’ mean? Is it a day-to-day English word?

The article begins with the following line:

"Mubarak detained for 15 days in graft probe: Egypt’s prosecutor general has announced a 15-day detention for the country’s former president to investigate accusations of corruption and abuse of authority."

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your understanding is correct, it means 'investigation into corruption or bribery'. The phrase doesn't have a special meaning beyond the combination of the two words graft and probe.

graft: bribery and other corrupt practices used to secure illicit advantages or gains in politics or business

probe: a thorough investigation into a crime or other matter

If the choice of words and the construction seems a bit odd or unfamiliar, that's because newspaper headline writing is a special discipline and the phrases they use would sound strange in normal writing or conversation.

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The phrase doesn't have any special meaning or existence beyond the combination of the two words graft and probe. In other words, this isn't a phrase, it's just two words that happened to end up next to each other in a headline. –  Marthaª Apr 13 '11 at 14:48
    
/ Martha.I didn’t know ‘graft probe’ is simply combination of two plain words. That’s why I wasn’t able to find entry of the word in any of English dictionaries I cited. As a non-native learner of English, I thought it is press or lawyers’ jargon. Thank you for your quick input. –  Yoichi Oishi Apr 14 '11 at 4:47

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