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Investors hunt for/scout for/scour for investment opportunities.

Are there any subtle differences between these 3 expressions.

Hunt: to search for something or someone very carefully and thoroughly

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/hunt

Scout:

  1. to search an area or place for something or someone
  2. to explore (an area) in order to find information about it
  3. to watch or look at (someone or something) in order to decide if that person or thing is suited for a particular job or purpose

http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/scout

Scour: to search (something) carefully and thoroughly http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/scour

Here is my take.

"Hunt" implies there is a possibility that you won't find the opportunities.

I am not sure about "scout". Does it imply you look at a company for a long time to decide whether it is worth the investment?

I think "scour" implies that you are searching a wider area. But how can I interpret it in my sentence?

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There's very little practical difference between "hunt for opportunities" and "scout for opportunities" in this context. Both verbs effectively mean "search", with the implication that these opportunities are uncommon, and that you are simply looking for them, not evaluating them.

"Scour for opportunities" is unidiomatic. The literal meaning of "scour" is to clean or polish in an abrasive fashion, e.g. to scour a dirty cooking pot. It can also sometimes mean to perform an exhaustive search, but that meaning is usually limited to a more literal search, e.g. to scour an area for a lost object.

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