con·sult | \kən-ˈsəlt \
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, ˈkän-ˌsəlt \

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

Draper consults with many New Space startups, including SpaceX and Blue Origin. Hiawatha Bray,, "New England stakes its claim in New Space," 2 July 2018 When, in any earlier time, have inhabitants of purchased or vanquished territories been consulted about their preferences? Edward Rothstein, WSJ, "A New Gateway to the West," 2 July 2018 In recent weeks, Trump has consulted with his advisers about a possible replacement for Kelly, who has been in the White House role for one year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Authorities probe suspect's past encounters with paper in newsroom shooting; Possible new White House shakeup," 29 June 2018 Under the arrangement, Ardern will still be consulted on major decisions, including issues of national security. NBC News, "New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern gives birth to baby girl," 21 June 2018 Henry Mestetsky, a lawyer who has served as the commission's director since November, said he's already been consulting with Olds, in fact, and has paid him more than $10,000 in the past two months. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel Redevelopment Commission brings back 'fired' development director Les Olds as consultant," 21 June 2018 Requirements for the preschool directors include consulting with mentors, bringing children outside daily, establishing a daily schedule, and offering various centers for activities such as art, dramatic play and fine motor skills. Carolyn Said,, "Want to start a preschool at home? Wonderschool can help," 18 June 2018 In its review, the committee will consult with the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Why every college football coach earned a win on Wednesday," 13 June 2018 As with any supplement, consult with your physician before using. Good Housekeeping, "Unlocking Your Body’s Potential to Live Healthier, Longer," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That included a requirement that the district consult with the union on policy changes. New York Times, "Can Weak Unions Get Teachers More Money?," 5 May 2018 Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the release of body camera footage after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completes interviews with key witnesses and consults with the family. Youssef Rddad, The Seattle Times, "Family: Minneapolis police shooting not justified as man ran," 9 July 2018 If the president consults and cooperates with the Senate, or moderates his selections absent consultation, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did Justices Kennedy and Souter. NBC News, "McConnell went 'nuclear' to confirm Gorsuch. But Democrats changed Senate filibuster rules first.," 28 June 2018 Its services range from digital urgent care to virtual visits for follow-up appointments to peer-to-peer consults between physicians. Steven J. Corwin, Recode, "Let’s make telemedicine available to all," 25 June 2018 To screen or not to screen for prostate cancer is a question that men aged 55 to 69 should decide themselves in consult with their doctors, according to finalized guidance from an influential panel of health care experts. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Prostate cancer screening: Should you or shouldn't you?," 8 May 2018 There will be plenty of laughs, door prizes and imprompu design consults during the evening., "Win Tickets to The Scott Brothers' House Party," 23 Aug. 2017 Think of sharing your plans as a courtesy, not a consult. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Hitting the pause button on a good relationship," 8 May 2018 For specifics on that program, consult Bill Belichick. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sunday Punch: Sexy thoughts, cheap shots & bon mots," 5 May 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


Middle French or Latin; Middle French consulter, from Latin consultare, frequentative of consulere to deliberate, counsel, consult


see consult entry 1

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Phrases Related to consult

consulting room

Statistics for consult

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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 \
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 \

Medical Definition of consult 

: to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor

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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).


one that holds something together

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