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 For details, requirements and deadlines, consult the Poet’s Market or Writer’s Market. cleveland, "Artful University School students win state and national awards: Valley Views," 26 Apr. 2021 Whenever possible, consult with your accountant and sell specific share lots to minimize your tax bill. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "How to Keep Your Cool When Markets Are Sizzling," 23 Apr. 2021 For more information, consult the Extension publications Practical Lawn Care for Western Oregon, Practical Lawn Establishment and Renovation, and Integrated Pest Management for Turfgrass. oregonlive, "If you mind moss in your lawn, try these preventative measures," 18 Apr. 2021 Excess caffeine is not recommended for those who have anxiety disorders, and women who are breastfeeding should consult a doctor about their caffeine intake. Ola Faleti,, "Is black tea good for you?," 18 Apr. 2021 For the most accurate location-specific information consult online planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Live. Jamie Carter, Forbes, "‘Shooting Stars,’ Moon Visits ‘Twins’ And Venus And Mercury Meet In A Close Conjunction: What You Can See In The Night Sky This Week," 18 Apr. 2021 At the end of the period in which the funds must be used -- September 2023, the state agency and the school must consult to determine if the materials and equipment will remain in use at the school or returned to the state agency. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, "U.S. aid available to private schools," 17 Apr. 2021 As always, consult your veterinarian before adding new foods to your dog's diet. Jennifer Nelson, Southern Living, "Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?," 17 Apr. 2021 Important note: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Dana Santas, CNN, "Reduce risk of severe Covid infection with 22 minutes of daily activity," 13 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Make this your turnaround point or consult park maps to customize a longer hike. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, "Need a break from the Piestewa Peak crowds? Try this Phoenix Mountains Preserve hike," 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,, "After hitting record numbers during the pandemic’s peak, new medical marijuana patients are surging again in Florida," 24 Apr. 2021 At the consult, families will also learn strategies to help their child at home. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland, "More than 2,000 Sensory Awareness Kits distributed to local families: Strong Points," 12 Mar. 2021 The agreement, which was made shortly before Biden's inauguration, mandated that DHS consult with states and local jurisdictions before overhauling immigration policies. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "ICE arrests and deportations plummet under Biden after administration limits enforcement," 10 Mar. 2021 Appointments with specialists were repeatedly canceled; a doctor fell asleep during a consult; all four of his limbs were cuffed to a hospital bed following a cardiac event. Rebecca Mccray, Curbed, "Giving Vaccines to Prisoners Won’t Be Enough to Get Them Vaccinated," 12 Feb. 2021 The agreement mandated that the DHS consult with states and local jurisdictions before sweeping immigration bills would be enacted. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Mexican president: 'Not true' that borders are 'open' in Biden administration," 12 Feb. 2021 Both the Youth Leadership Initiative and the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute are becoming separate nonprofits, with Wilder helping consult on the transition. Kelly Smith, Star Tribune, "St. Paul chamber adopts diversity program eliminated by Wilder Foundation," 26 Jan. 2021 The agreement, which was made shortly before Biden's inauguration, mandated that DHS consult with states and local jurisdictions before sweeping immigration bills would be enacted. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Ken Paxton sues Biden administration over 100-day deportation stoppage," 22 Jan. 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

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 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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Comments on consult

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