con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \
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 How to pronounce consult (audio) , ˈkän-ˌsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \

Definition of consult (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Doe argued Blank's failure to consult Doe regarding Cephus' reinstatement violated Title IX rules. Bruce Vielmetti, Journal Sentinel, 19 July 2022 The Coalition for a Multilingual Rhode Island welcomes the opportunity to consult with South Kingstown community members, Superintendent Prince, and district officials on maintaining and developing the dual language immersion program. Erin Papa,, 14 June 2022 The experience led Axelbaum to go back to school for certifications to consult in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Christine Michel Carter, Forbes, 1 June 2022 Wallace had an inside source to consult about the Steelers in former Alabama teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is Pittsburgh’s free safety. Mark Inabinett |, al, 17 Mar. 2022 Mary Paulson, deputy director at the Oregon School Boards Association, has advised districts to consult with attorneys about safety and liability concerns. oregonlive, 22 Feb. 2022 Djokovic’s filing alleges that officials pressured him to accept a decision on his visa cancellation without giving him the chance to properly consult his legal representatives, which the government denies. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2022 One of the doctors called in to consult thought poisoning seemed likely, perhaps by opium or belladonna. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 2 Jan. 2022 Indeed, due to failure to consult adequately, many poor countries were forced to throw out thousands of expired doses for lack of the infrastructure required to store and transport them. Grace Browne, Wired, 20 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Under that program, Energica could work as consult with companies that might not have the engineering or financial resources to undertake large R&D efforts or beta systems iterations when building electric powertrains. Bill Roberson, Forbes, 31 July 2022 After the consult, the patient is scheduled for a procedure, which takes about 5-10 minutes and is done under local numbing medication, Hotaling said. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 July 2022 Park officials hope to eventually open the area up to the public, but the 26 square miles of land will remain closed to visitors as national park staff consult with local experts and residents to better understand the various cultural sites. Caleb Jones, USA TODAY, 13 July 2022 Planned Parenthood patients go through a similar set of steps, starting with an initial consult and also a preliminary semen analysis. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 July 2022 While the project didn’t go live in the end, having a doctor consult on our project and join meetings with stakeholders was invaluable. Taha Elraaid, Forbes, 2 June 2022 However, if fatty liver progresses to more advanced inflammation or fibrosis, a consult with your primary care doctor and referral to a gastrointestinal specialist is warranted. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 2 June 2022 Details in the 42-page agreement included requirements that Wayne State consult with Ilitch's organization on curriculum and have a display honoring him in a prominent place. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, 21 June 2022 Hey Jane requires patients to be within the accessible state for both consult and treatment. Jennifer Korn, CNN, 7 June 2022 See More

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.

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

Verb and Noun

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

Learn More About consult

Time Traveler for consult

Time Traveler

The first known use of consult was in 1527

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Dictionary Entries Near consult

consul general



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Statistics for consult

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for consult


con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \
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 How to pronounce consult (audio) \

Medical Definition of consult

: to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor

More from Merriam-Webster on consult

Nglish: Translation of consult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consult for Arabic Speakers


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