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 The percentage of public companies losing the vote has never exceeded 2% in a single year, and 86% of companies have never lost a vote since the process began, according to a 2019 study by HR consulting firm Mercer. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Shareholders dunked on CEO pay at CVS and Intel. Stock performance may be next.," 21 May 2020 For an idea of what’s in store, A.J. Maestas, founder of Navigate Research, a sports analytics consulting firm, told the Associated Press that approximately 200 schools cut programs after the recession. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Delayed or not, college football will be back, but prepare for a new normal," 20 May 2020 Kelly Hills, a bioethicist at a consulting firm called Rogue Bioethics, appreciates Open Insulin’s efforts, a feeling that has only deepened during the coronavirus crisis. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "The Rogue Experimenters," 18 May 2020 David Sangree, president of Cleveland consulting firm Hotel and Leisure Advisors, said the Hilton will have a hard time filling rooms without action in the convention center. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "County-owned Hilton Cleveland Downtown seeing signs of tourism recovery," 16 May 2020 After consulting with preparedness experts and emergency first responders for months, Huck and his team devised four kinds of kits, each uniquely tailored to address household safety needs. Talia Abbas, Glamour, "Here’s Where to Buy a First Aid Kit Online," 13 Apr. 2020 DeJoy is the owner of a real estate and consulting firm in North Carolina after having served as chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, according to his family's foundation page. Author: Josh Dawsey, Lisa Rein, Jacob Bogage, Anchorage Daily News, "Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general," 7 May 2020 All told, box office revenue in India was estimated to have reached $1.4 billion in 2019, a nearly 12% increase over the year before, according to an annual report published by the consulting firm Ormax Media. Manveena Suri, CNN, "The coronavirus is crushing the world's most prolific film industry," 7 May 2020 Subsequently, new solar installations could drop 17 percent this year, while wind manufacturing could fall up to 20 percent, consulting firm Wood McKenzie estimates. TheWeek, "Coronavirus pandemic could place hundreds of thousands jobs in wind, solar energy at risk," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Protesters picketed outside The Times; there were heated debates among the paper’s (male) leaders; and at least one person suggested that the paper’s leadership consult with language experts. New York Times, "Examining the Meaning of ‘Mrs.’," 15 May 2020 Before the pandemic, we didn’t get paid for phone consults. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, "What A Toronto Doctor Wants You To Know About How To Really Support Healthcare Workers," 28 Apr. 2020 Depending on the assessment, an individual may be recommended for a virtual consult with a health care professional to determine next steps. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "You're feeling sick. Here's the latest on COVID-19 testing options in Arizona," 1 Apr. 2020 To ask a question or consult with our BCA experts during these times, the phone number is 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249). William Thornton |, al, "Got questions on SBA loans? Tune in to this program," 6 Apr. 2020 If a preliminary online consult requires lab work or more diagnostics that must be done at a med clinic, there is no additional charge. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "With virtual and clinic presence, Phoenix telehealth company Akos MD surges, plays key role amid COVID-19," 12 Apr. 2020 Yet today’s care is not patient-centered, no matter how a consult occurs. Tim Peck, Quartz, "Covid-19 expanded telemedicine measures that we’ve needed for years," 3 Apr. 2020 Staff go around with Toughbooks and log things like minutes of physical, speech, and occupational therapy; a doctor’s visit; a mental health consult; an IV; help from the nurse assistants. Kevin Scott, Wired, "Automation May Take Jobs—but AI Will Create Them," 3 Apr. 2020 But Restored by the Fords star Leanne Ford has decided to use the app for something entirely different: design consults! Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "You can get Design Advice from Leanne Ford on Cameo," 31 Mar. 2020

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

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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

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