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 As always, remember to consult a financial professional or tax professional before making any major decisions. David Kudla, Forbes, 14 June 2021 Passengers were advised to consult a medical professional about medical conditions and their ability to fly on New Shepard. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, 12 June 2021 Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said the king's unexpected move to consult political leaders fueled speculation that Muhyiddin's government may have lost its parliamentary majority. Eileen Ng, Star Tribune, 10 June 2021 More institutions are weighing whether to link asset managers’ compensation to performance on environmental, social and governance issues, say people who consult with investors and help private-equity firms raise money. Chris Cumming, WSJ, 1 June 2021 Vials that contain 10 doses might be too large for doctors who consult an unvaccinated patient during a routine visit. Ken Alltucker, USA Today, 5 May 2021 There is an element of exploitation that goes into casting reality TV shows and many of the contestants are super young, naive, intimidated, and not really given the time to consult lawyers, etc. Dalton Ross,, 23 Mar. 2021 The Instagram post detailed that the organizations would be hiring an independent diversity and equity expert who will consult on membership policies., 7 Mar. 2021 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is embarking on a 10-day trip to consult with U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For more specific advice, Mayo Clinic offers a regenerative medicine consult service that tries to match patients with existing research studies or clinical trials and counter any misinformation a patient may have heard., 11 June 2021 This was especially true if the singer could not read or write, and so had no original text to consult and memorize. Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 Ironically, casinos that Forte and team oncecheated were now paying him upward of $25,000 for a consult. Kevin Pang, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 Ferguson’s policy also updated the attorney general’s litigation process, requiring that the office consult with tribal nations before filing any subsequent legal actions against them. Nick Martin, The New Republic, 27 May 2021 The committee also recommended that Creecy consult with other countries in the region to determine under what conditions current stockpiles of rhino horn and elephant ivory can be disposed. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, 2 May 2021 Make this your turnaround point or consult park maps to customize a longer hike. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 28 Apr. 2021 As Florida began locking down in early 2020, the state issued an emergency order to allow existing patients to re-up their certification via tele-health, but new patients still have to get a consult in person. Aric Chokey,, 24 Apr. 2021 At the consult, families will also learn strategies to help their child at home. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, 12 Mar. 2021

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

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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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 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


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