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)

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Before starting any fitness regimen, be sure to consult your healthcare practitioner. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Cdn, Nasm-cpt, Good Housekeeping, 20 May 2022 Patients with chronic medical problems such as diabetes, dermatitis, multiple sclerosis and vascular disease should exercise caution or consult their doctor first. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 19 May 2022 In February, Mastercard announced 500 new hires that would consult with the company on cryptocurrency transactions, NFTs, and financial activities related to the metaverse. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 17 May 2022 Nor did Capstone bother to consult insurance industry data on those risks or compare what other insurance companies were charging for those risks. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Pressure washer user manuals usually have nozzle guidance, and when possible, consult the surface manufacturer information about the material. Kristina Mcguirk, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 May 2022 When describing an object or concept that doesn’t have direct translation in Iñupiaq, the teachers invite an elder to consult on the word choice, Nanouk said. Alena Naiden, Anchorage Daily News, 1 May 2022 As for the long wait to see a tree mature, those wielding a shovel this week would be smart to consult an unlikely source of landscaping advice. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, 29 Apr. 2022 Mwaura had briefly returned to Liberty the previous year to consult on Black enrollment. Megan K. Stack, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Weapons and military equipment can be clues as to what transpired; reporters consult with military experts on that. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 Early on in the production process — aside from consulting with creator Dustin Lance Black, who grew up Mormon — the star went to Utah to meet with both current and former members of the church, as well as consult with Mormon police officers. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Apr. 2022 Sensory consult: Does your child have meltdowns during typical daily activities or bothered by noises, constantly spinning or crashing into things – even unable to wear certain clothing? cleveland, 27 Feb. 2022 Roberts has said the nine consult that aspirational code in their own behavior. Joan Biskupic, CNN, 25 Mar. 2022 Over the next several months, the consult will determine if a wall is warranted for federal funding based on such factors as feasibility, cost and amount of noise reduction. Suzanne Baker,, 5 Mar. 2022 In May, desperate to get through to someone, Dr. Hancock called the psychiatric on-call consult line for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, 16 Dec. 2021 Scheduling a legal consult depending on the severity of the mistreatment. Heidi Lynne Kurter, Forbes, 28 Jan. 2022 And for women over 40, sometimes the permission of a husband as well as psychological consult beforehand is necessary. Essence, 5 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About consult

Time Traveler for consult

Time Traveler

The first known use of consult was in 1527

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Dictionary Entries Near consult

consul general



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Statistics for consult

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for consult


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

More from Merriam-Webster on consult

Nglish: Translation of consult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consult for Arabic Speakers


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