consult

verb
con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt \
consulted; consulting; consults

Definition of consult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to have regard to : consider "Adams, consult your own safety, and don't remain here … "— Charles Dickens
2a : to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor consult a lawyer
b : to refer to consult a dictionary

intransitive verb

1 : to consult an individual consulted with experts on the matter
2 : to deliberate together : confer … the three powers would consult on how to ameliorate the internal political conflict …— W. S. Vucinich
3 : to serve as a consultant

consult

noun
con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt , ˈkän-ˌsəlt \

Definition of consult (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from consult

Verb

consulter noun

Confer vs. Consult

Confer and consult are very closely related in meaning, and each has senses that are synonymous with the other’s. But as is so often the case with near-synonyms, there are contexts in which one word is preferable to the other.

If you confer with someone, it is entirely possible that you will be seeking advice, but you could also simply be having a discussion (“they conferred privately before making a decision”). If you are consulting someone or something, it is more likely that you are seeking advice (“he consulted his doctor before deciding on a course of treatment”). Consult is unambiguously the correct choice when one is seeking guidance or information from a non-human source; you would consult (not confer with) a dictionary for information on a word.

The sense of confer that is concerned with giving something (as in, “education confers many benefits”) is not shared by consult.

Examples of consult in a Sentence

Verb

consult a lawyer about a business matter You should not attempt these exercises without first consulting your doctor. He made the decision without consulting me. I expect to be consulted on important decisions. I don't remember that part of the meeting; I'll have to consult my notes.

Noun

it was time for a change of do, which called for a consult with her hairdresser
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Spending on wind and solar grew 13% in 2018 from the year before, rising above $16 billion, according to consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Timothy Puko, WSJ, "From Beer to Casinos, Businesses Turn to Solar, Wind Power," 30 Jan. 2019 The first time Tony consults the Green Book comes after several stops on Shirley’s concert tour, in Ohio and Indiana. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Green Book builds a feel-good comedy atop an artifact of shameful segregation. Yikes.," 7 Jan. 2019 But, don't be fooled by the marketing terms and instead, try out a few different types or consult a hairstylist to find out what works best for you in terms of overall effect and personal preference. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Experts Explain How Conditioner Benefits Your Hair (and Why You Should Always Use It)," 16 Oct. 2018 Since then, he's been working in risk assurance for accounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, the school said. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Dallas cop fatally shoots neighbor in apartment she mistakes for her own, police say," 2 Oct. 2018 Shoeboxes were her preferred organizational tool when consulting—thus, the Hikidashi boxes were born. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Marie Kondo's Revolutionary New Product Is...a Shoebox," 24 July 2018 For fast over-the-counter results, try Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment by Paula’s Choice, or consult a dermatologist to see if prescription strength is a better fit for you. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "Is This Vitamin the Secret to Smooth Skin?," 10 July 2018 The process also involved mapping the mural by using what was left of it and going through old photos, along with consulting people familiar with the work, Coutts said, eventually stitching the artwork's original image back together. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Iconic Tower Records mural in downtown is getting a little love," 10 July 2018 And Remember to always consult with your physician before starting any weight-loss plan. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Where You Can Find Nutrisystem on Sale Right Now," 4 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To use Block, customers fill out a questionnaire on their website and receive a video consult on the specialties of their project. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "This Renovation Start-Up Wants To Deliver Your New Bathroom To You," 17 Dec. 2018 There's a morning consult poll that showed his favorability was down, even in groups targeted, Millennials and African-Americans and so forth. Fox News, "Larry Kudlow on where the Trump economy is headed," 8 Sep. 2018 The Consultation My consult with Dr. Kolker set me at ease. Allure, "I Got Rhinoplasty at 25 — Here's What to Expect From a Nose Job," 7 Aug. 2018 Doctors at the hospital consult with their counterparts in the Caribbean, says Victor Blanchette, co-chairman of the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "Young Cancer Patients in Poor Countries Get a Boost," 26 Sep. 2018 In May, Ouskouian allegedly diagnosed a man, who has not been identified, regarding a growth on his neck in a consult room at UCI. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Former California college student charged after pretending to be doctor, diagnosing man, officials say," 30 Aug. 2018 Foy said Grassley’s blue-slip policy is like Biden’s, who required that the White House consult with home-state senators on each nomination, regardless of the blue-slip situation. Salvador Rizzo, Washington Post, "Are Senate Republicans killing ‘blue slip’ for court nominees?," 21 Feb. 2018 In some cases, the primary care team may be able to save the patient a visit to a specialist, through what is called an electronic consultation, or e-consult. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Three reasons why young, healthy people want a primary care provider," 13 June 2018 That included a requirement that the district consult with the union on policy changes. New York Times, "Can Weak Unions Get Teachers More Money?," 5 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consult.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consult

Verb

1527, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1560, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for consult

Verb and Noun

Middle French or Latin; Middle French consulter, from Latin consultare, frequentative of consulere to deliberate, counsel, consult

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Statistics for consult

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consult

The first known use of consult was in 1527

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More Definitions for consult

consult

verb

English Language Learners Definition of consult

: to go to (someone, such as a doctor or lawyer) for advice : to ask for the professional opinion of (someone)
: to talk about something with (someone) in order to make a decision
: to look for information in (something, such as a book or map)

consult

verb
con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt \
consulted; consulting

Kids Definition of consult

1 : to seek the opinion or advice of consult a doctor
2 : to seek information from consult a dictionary
3 : to talk something over I'll have to consult with my lawyer.

consult

transitive verb
con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt \

Medical Definition of consult

: to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor

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More from Merriam-Webster on consult

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with consult

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for consult

Spanish Central: Translation of consult

Nglish: Translation of consult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consult for Arabic Speakers

Comments on consult

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