Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun re·quest \ri-ˈkwest\

Simple Definition of request

  • : an act of politely or formally asking for something

  • : something (such as a song) that a person asks for

Full Definition of request

  1. 1 :  the act or an instance of asking for something

  2. 2 :  something asked for <granted her request>

  3. 3 :  the condition or fact of being requested <available on request>

  4. 4 :  the state of being sought after :  demand

Examples of request

  1. They made a request to begin work immediately.

  2. She filed a formal request for more information.

  3. At your request, I am enclosing a full refund of your payment.

  4. Troops were sent at the request of our allies.

  5. This next song is a request from one of our listeners.

Origin of request

Middle English requeste, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *requaesta, from feminine of requaestus, past participle of requaerere to require

First Known Use: 14th century



verb re·quest

Simple Definition of request

  • : to ask for (something) in a polite or formal way

  • : to ask (someone) to do something in a polite or formal way

Full Definition of request

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a request to or of <requested her to write a paper>

  3. 2 :  to ask as a favor or privilege <requests to be excused>

  4. 3 obsolete :  to ask (a person) to come or go to a thing or place

  5. 4 :  to ask for <requested a brief delay>

re·quest·er or re·quest·or play \-ˈkwes-tər\ noun

Examples of request

  1. The governor will request that the legislature raise taxes.

  2. Gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie.


First Known Use of request


Synonym Discussion of request

ask, question, interrogate, query, inquire mean to address a person in order to gain information. ask implies no more than the putting of a question <ask for directions>. question usually suggests the asking of series of questions <questioned them about every detail of the trip>. interrogate suggests formal or official systematic questioning <the prosecutor interrogated the witness all day>. query implies a desire for authoritative information or confirmation <queried a librarian about the book>. inquire implies a searching for facts or for truth often specifically by asking questions <began to inquire of friends and teachers what career she should pursue>.

ask, request, solicit mean to seek to obtain by making one's wants known. ask implies no more than the statement of the desire <ask a favor of a friend>. request implies greater formality and courtesy <requests the pleasure of your company>. solicit suggests a calling attention to one's wants or desires by public announcement or advertisement <a letter soliciting information>.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up request? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez kittly-benders spindrift duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.