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)

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Williams said the department will consult with a judge regarding the potential release of the video of the officers’ comments. Hunter Ingram, USA TODAY, "Three North Carolina police officers fired for racist comments calling for 'slaughtering' Black people," 25 June 2020 So call or consult websites before heading out. Located off the 110 Freeway in Montecito Heights, Debs Park is one of the most underrated green spaces in the city. Lisa Boone, Los Angeles Times, "The 15 best places in L.A. to find shade on hot summer days," 24 June 2020 If men and nonbinary people don’t feel safe going to a doctor to consult on their reproductive organs, that’s a public health concern. Hannah Seo, Popular Science, "Trans people’s access to health care is imperiled, but a recent Supreme Court case might help," 23 June 2020 Jennifer Mercieca does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Jennifer Mercieca, The Conversation, "A field guide to Trump’s dangerous rhetoric," 19 June 2020 Medium plans to announce that Kaepernick is joining the company’s board and partnering with it to create and consult on content related to race and prison reform, according to the Washington Post. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Kaepernick lands board position at Medium, plans to host Q&A and consult on race and prison reform content," 18 June 2020 Leaders should consult widely to build consensus across the political landscape. The Economist, "The world after covid-19 Alan Doss and Mo Ibrahim on preventing covid from killing democracy in Africa," 17 June 2020 The following guidelines have not changed and remain in effect: People who are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 remain at home and consult their health care provider. Shacamree Gowdy, Houston Chronicle, "WHO updates face mask guidelines to help slow spread of COVID-19 in high transmission areas," 9 June 2020 Here are some great resources to consult for both bats and birds: Q: The leaves of our jasmine are turning bright red before turning brown and ultimately dying. oregonlive, "Does welcoming bats to yard reduce food for wild birds? Ask an expert," 6 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon did repeatedly consult sales information about items on its online mall to create copycats. Shira Ovide, New York Times, "Our Ingenuity Shapes Facebook," 24 Apr. 2020 On the West Coast, medical students at the University of California, San Francisco have come together under the name Connecting During COVID to offer a unique medical consult service. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Volunteers Are Collecting Tablets for COVID-19 Patients So They Don't Have to Suffer Alone," 24 Apr. 2020 The hospital system has increased the number of practitioners delivering remote consults from 6 to 60, but it is being forced to schedule telehealth visits several days out to spread the workload. Erin Brodwin, STAT, "Surge in patients overwhelms telehealth services amid coronavirus pandemic," 17 Mar. 2020 Protesters picketed outside The Times; there were heated debates among the paper’s (male) leaders; and at least one person suggested that the paper’s leadership consult with language experts. New York Times, "Examining the Meaning of ‘Mrs.’," 15 May 2020 Before the pandemic, we didn’t get paid for phone consults. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, "What A Toronto Doctor Wants You To Know About How To Really Support Healthcare Workers," 28 Apr. 2020 Depending on the assessment, an individual may be recommended for a virtual consult with a health care professional to determine next steps. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "You're feeling sick. Here's the latest on COVID-19 testing options in Arizona," 1 Apr. 2020 To ask a question or consult with our BCA experts during these times, the phone number is 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249). William Thornton |, al, "Got questions on SBA loans? Tune in to this program," 6 Apr. 2020 If a preliminary online consult requires lab work or more diagnostics that must be done at a med clinic, there is no additional charge. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "With virtual and clinic presence, Phoenix telehealth company Akos MD surges, plays key role amid COVID-19," 12 Apr. 2020

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


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

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Time Traveler for consult

Time Traveler

The first known use of consult was in 1527

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Statistics for consult

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for consult


How to pronounce consult (audio)

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

Medical Definition of consult

: to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor

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More from Merriam-Webster on consult

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for consult

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with consult

Spanish Central: Translation of consult

Nglish: Translation of consult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consult for Arabic Speakers

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