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


con·​sult | \kən-ˈsəlt, ˈkän-ˌsəlt \

Definition of consult (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from consult


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


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.


it was time for a change of do, which called for a consult with her hairdresser
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Customers are required to fill out a medical history form before beginning the process, and the company consults with a medical director for additional health questions and concerns. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Concierge IV hydration therapy service seeks to rehydrate Louisville," 12 July 2018 Goodlatte said Strzok could consult only with his own attorney, not the FBI's. Gregg Re, Fox News, "GOP Rep. Gohmert unloads on 'smirking' Strzok: 'How many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eyes and lie to her?'," 12 July 2018 The property will include communal spaces like a cafe, a co-working space, crèche, and grocery store, and is consulting with potential residents and existing neighbors on the design. Michael Taylor, The Christian Science Monitor, "Won't you be my neighbor: Melbourne experiments with community-led housing," 11 July 2018 The Garcia campaign said that Scheel consults with the campaign, but has not managed it since October. Richard Ruelas, azcentral, "Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey campaign paints Democrat David Garcia as supporter of #AbolishICE," 11 July 2018 Researchers discovered that Straus consulted with the National Refugee Service, a Jewish agency, which advised him to submit affidavits of support for the family. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Anne Frank’s Family Tried to Escape to the United States, New Research Shows," 6 July 2018 Working closely with a White House team and consulting with lawmakers and outside advisers, Trump has spent the week deliberating on the choice. Catherine Lucey, Time, "These 3 Judges Lead President Trump's List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees," 5 July 2018 Facebook did consult with both the industry and criminal-justice-reform groups after announcing its ban, a spokesman said. Greg Ip, WSJ, "How Google and Facebook Are Monopolizing Ideas," 4 July 2018 In addition, for any future changes or termination to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees being considered by the Dept. of Justice, the DOJ must now communicate and consult with Congress. Ed Christman, Billboard, "Music Modernization Act Sails Through Senate Judiciary Committee; Industry Reacts," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the release of body camera footage after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completes interviews with key witnesses and consults with the family. Youssef Rddad, The Seattle Times, "Family: Minneapolis police shooting not justified as man ran," 9 July 2018 If the president consults and cooperates with the Senate, or moderates his selections absent consultation, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did Justices Kennedy and Souter. NBC News, "McConnell went 'nuclear' to confirm Gorsuch. But Democrats changed Senate filibuster rules first.," 28 June 2018 Its services range from digital urgent care to virtual visits for follow-up appointments to peer-to-peer consults between physicians. Steven J. Corwin, Recode, "Let’s make telemedicine available to all," 25 June 2018 To screen or not to screen for prostate cancer is a question that men aged 55 to 69 should decide themselves in consult with their doctors, according to finalized guidance from an influential panel of health care experts. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Prostate cancer screening: Should you or shouldn't you?," 8 May 2018 There will be plenty of laughs, door prizes and imprompu design consults during the evening., "Win Tickets to The Scott Brothers' House Party," 23 Aug. 2017 Think of sharing your plans as a courtesy, not a consult. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Hitting the pause button on a good relationship," 8 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.

See More

First Known Use of consult


1527, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1560, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for consult


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


see consult entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about consult

Statistics for consult

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for consult

The first known use of consult was in 1527

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for consult



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)


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.


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

Medical Definition of consult 

: to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on consult

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


a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!