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 After nearly four decades at the helm, Joan Schneider sold the public relations and consulting firm a year ago to her top lieutenant, chief executive Philip Pennellatore., "Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building," 17 Sep. 2019 After their trip, Victor Liu was planning to start his sophomore year at Georgetown University, and Cynthia was set to return to work at a consulting firm in New York City. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Trapped, alone and 'desperate to come home.' American siblings barred from leaving China," 15 Sep. 2019 The average commute time in Denver is 46 minutes, according to human resources consulting firm Robert Half. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: The right’s right to opinion; On the governor’s remarks; A work-from-home strategy; Don’t blame Sanders (9/13/19)," 13 Sep. 2019 The reputational problems may not last, said Andrew Charlton, the managing director at the consulting firm Aviation Advocacy. New York Times, "Pilots’ Strike Prompts British Airways to Cancel 1,700 Flights," 9 Sep. 2019 Charles Johnson, the consulting firm’s president and chief executive, said. Kenneth R. Gosselin,, "Study: Hartford’s convention center needs another hotel, local convention bureau and better use of outdoor promenades," 9 Sep. 2019 Before his 2018 departure, former City Manager Bill Lindsay asked Boston consulting firm MBD Solutions to conduct a report on the police department’s leadership. Erin Baldassari, The Mercury News, "Richmond police chief ‘out of the office’ following union’s vote of no confidence," 7 Sep. 2019 The National Institute of Crime Prevention, a consulting firm based near Tampa, Fla.,, conducts training sessions that promise to reduce crime through design measures like the ones being used in Fruitport. Blair Kamin,, "Column: A small town in the heartland redesigned its school to prevent shootings. But architecture can’t ensure kids’ safety.," 6 Sep. 2019 Neither Lassiter nor his consulting firm, HealthTech Solutions of Frankfort, had any experience in telecommunications or in navigating the FCC's complex program rules. Alfred Miller, ProPublica, "How Kentucky Gambled for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars From a Broadband Program It Didn’t Qualify for," 4 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Niche social spaces providing a place for people like Akinsete to get advice, consult with others, network, and vent about work situations, are on the rise. Brianna Holt, Quartz at Work, "The impact of workspaces for people of color go beyond feeling welcome," 16 Oct. 2019 Zhang is acting as her own attorney during the federal trial, much to Altman’s frustration — but at his suggestion did consult with her former public defender Kristy Militello during jury selection., "After some discussion about which agency was supposed to provide Zhang with underwear, she was taken to a holding cell and changed into a copper-colored blouse and khaki slacks found in her hotel room after her March arrest.," 10 Sep. 2019 At Legacy Health emergency rooms, the network has created a 24/7 psychiatric consult team for patients that can assess their mental health needs within four hours of their arrival. oregonlive, "Child or teen needs mental health treatment? In Portland area, they face agonizing waits," 10 Sep. 2019 CARLSBAD Low-vision consults offered at center The Carlsbad Senior Center is hosting the Braille Institute of San Diego for free low-vision consultations for ages 50 and older from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local Sierra Club marks environmental milestones," 21 Aug. 2019 Dave Mellor, head groundskeeper at Fenway Park, kept in touch with the two weather services with whom the Red Sox consult and met regularly with the umpires on the field between innings to offer the grim updates. Alex Speier,, "Suspended game meant logistical challenges for Red Sox," 21 Aug. 2019 The New Hampshire bill would add primary care workers and pediatricians to the list of providers who can bill the state’s Medicaid program for telehealth consults, according to New Hampshire Public Radio. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "A Federal Panel Says All Adults Should Be Screened for Drug Addiction: Brainstorm Health," 13 Aug. 2019 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

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

13 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for consult

The first known use of consult was in 1527

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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

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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