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."

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 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
    Commented Apr 13, 2011 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. Commented Apr 14, 2011 at 4:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.