in·​quire in-ˈkwī(-ə)r How to pronounce inquire (audio)
inquired; inquiring

intransitive verb

: to put a question : seek for information by questioning
inquired about the horses
: to make investigation or inquiry
often used with into

transitive verb

: to ask about
some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate Thomas Gray
: to search into : investigate
inquirer noun
inquiringly adverb
inquire after
: to ask about the health of
Choose the Right Synonym for inquire

ask, question, interrogate, query, inquire mean to address a person in order to gain information.

ask implies no more than the putting of a question.

ask for directions

question usually suggests the asking of series of questions.

questioned them about every detail of the trip

interrogate suggests formal or official systematic questioning.

the prosecutor interrogated the witness all day

query implies a desire for authoritative information or confirmation.

queried a librarian about the book

inquire implies a searching for facts or for truth often specifically by asking questions.

began to inquire of friends and teachers what career she should pursue

Example Sentences

When I inquired, they told me she was not here. We inquired the way to the station. “So, what do you want?” he inquired.
Recent Examples on the Web Every few years between 1996 and his death in 2019, Sheldon Grosberg would call Jed Boertlein and inquire about a precious jewel that had been placed in Boertlein’s care. John Kelly, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2022 Variety has reached out to the D.A.’s office to inquire how many fewer years Weinstein possibly now faces. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 15 Nov. 2022 Reporter Paris Wolf tells us that, that this is my favorite part of the story, that serious prospectors here who inquire about the property are asked to. Staff Reports, cleveland, 15 Nov. 2022 Investors may inquire whether there is a serious drinking problem and if so, was the board made aware, Mr. Grundfest said. Jennifer Williams-alvarez, WSJ, 8 Nov. 2022 After noticing Tammy on daily walks and in the Glen dining room, Charles finally got up the nerve to introduce himself to Tammy and inquire about her plans for New Year’s Eve 2020. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Nov. 2022 At the same time, artists were contacting the showroom to inquire about their artwork that Beard was supposed to sell for them. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 22 Oct. 2022 Hours later, a Baltimore police officer knocked on his door at 10:30 a.m. to inquire about the violence that occurred overnight, Phillips said. Lilly Price, Baltimore Sun, 17 Oct. 2022 The pressure campaign started in the days after the election, when Mr. Graham called Mr. Raffensperger to inquire about ways to help Mr. Trump by invalidating certain mail-in votes. New York Times, 23 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inquire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English enquiren, from Anglo-French enquerre, from Vulgar Latin *inquaerere, alteration of Latin inquirere, from in- + quaerere to seek

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of inquire was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near inquire

Cite this Entry

“Inquire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


in·​quire in-ˈkwī(ə)r How to pronounce inquire (audio)
inquired; inquiring
: to ask about
inquired the way to the train station
: to make an investigation
inquire into the accident
: to ask a question
inquired about the weather
inquirer noun
inquiringly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inquire

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