1590s, "investigate or study (a matter) closely, search or examine with continued care," from French recercher, from Old French recercher "seek out, search closely," from re-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see re-), + cercher "to seek for," from Latin circare "go about, wander, traverse," in Late Latin "to wander hither and thither," from circus "circle" (see circus).
The intransitive meaning "make researches" is by 1781. Sometimes 17c. also "to seek (a woman) in love or marriage." Related: Researched; researching.
"to turn up with or as with a plow," late 14c., plouen, from plow (n.). There is an apparent reference from c. 1200, of fish, perhaps meaning "to make furrows on the surface of the water," but it might be a mistake for play. Transferred sense of "traverse like a plow" is from 1580s. Related: Plowed; plowing.
mid-15c., "cry of dissatisfaction or contempt," from hoot (v.). Meaning "a laugh, something funny" is first recorded 1942. Slang sense of "smallest amount or particle" (the hoot you don't give when you don't care) is from 1891.
"A dod blasted ole fool!" answered the captain, who, till now, had been merely an amused on-looker. "Ye know all this rumpus wont do nobuddy a hoot o' good—not a hoot." ["Along Traverse Shores," Traverse City, Michigan, 1891]
Hooter in the same sense is from 1839.
HOOTER. Probably a corruption of iota. Common in New York in such phrases as "I don't care a hooter for him." "This note ain't worth a hooter." [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1877]