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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While Netflix has touted its growth opportunities globally, a recent report from consulting firm PwC said the company’s U.S. subscriber level may have reached its peak at 60.2 million. Stephen Battaglio,, "The $400 million-plus reason your favorite TV shows are exiting Netflix, Hulu," 15 Aug. 2019 Both estimates came from Atkins International, a consulting firm the district hired to advise the district on costs of the bond program. Scott Travis,, "Broward school repair program soars to $436 million over budget," 14 Aug. 2019 The Demokritos National Center for Scientific Research will help the consulting firm create the new outpost, which will employ 20 researchers in its first year. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "How State Politics Is Playing a Huge Role in Artificial Intelligence: Eye on A.I.," 13 Aug. 2019 Tim Simon of Alliance Transportation Group, the consulting firm commissioned by the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission to do the $280,000 study and plan, recently presented the first draft to stakeholders. USA TODAY, "Charlottesville remembered, drive-thru ban, ketchup karma: News from around our 50 states," 13 Aug. 2019 While Netflix has touted its growth opportunities globally, a recent report from consulting firm PwC said the company’s U.S. subscriber level may have reached its peak at 60.2 million. Los Angeles Times, "The $400 million-plus reason your favorite TV shows are exiting Netflix, Hulu," 12 Aug. 2019 While the activity is promising, 111 lots remain vacant, according to Metrostudy, a housing industry consulting firm. Nancy Sarnoff, Houston Chronicle, "Builders active in Meyerland, but vacant lots persist two years post-Harvey," 9 Aug. 2019 RMWD Administrative Services Manager Tim Clement said the original water rate increases were based on a recommendation by the independent consulting firm Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Directors to consider revising untreated water rate increases," 8 Aug. 2019 In 2017, the FBI raided the Annapolis office of Rogers’ consulting firm. Derek Willis, ProPublica, "How Fundraisers Convinced Conservatives to Donate $10 Million — Then Kept Almost All of It.," 26 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To see if the aircraft operating your flight has plugs—or those handy USB ports —check with your airline or consult, which shows seat-by-seat information for all major carriers. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Can You Text on a Plane? A Guide to In-Flight Phone Use," 22 July 2019 And investigators found more than 10,000 open and pending consults for prosthetics and hearing aids, leaving veterans to wait months for these items. Washington Post, "Management failures led to ‘unacceptable’ patient risks at VA’s flagship D.C. hospital, watchdog finds," 7 Mar. 2018 State secretaries will send representatives to discuss security and consult with outside experts. Ian Duncan,, "Maryland Gov. Hogan sets up new computer security office to protect state networks," 18 June 2019 Voters check consult information posted at a school in Kinshasa on Dec. 30, 2018, during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s general elections. WSJ, "Photos of the Week," 4 Jan. 2019 With a rising number of teens and adolescents suffering from depression and anxiety, and too few professionals to help, remote video consults are helping pediatricians fill the gap in some communities. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The Psychiatrist Can See Your Child Now, Virtually," 8 Jan. 2019 Parents, teens and family practitioners report high satisfaction with remote consults and appreciate their convenience and privacy. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The Psychiatrist Can See Your Child Now, Virtually," 8 Jan. 2019 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

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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Statistics for consult

Last Updated

18 Aug 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



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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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

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


of or relating to the heavens

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