in·​qui·​ry | \ in-ˈkwī(-ə)r-ē How to pronounce inquiry (audio) , ˈin-ˌ; ˈin-kwə-rē, ˈiŋ-; ˈin-ˌkwir-ē How to pronounce inquiry (audio) \
plural inquiries

Definition of inquiry

1 : a request for information
2 : a systematic investigation often of a matter of public interest
3 : examination into facts or principles : research

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Examples of inquiry in a Sentence

Discovered when Galileo Galilei turned the first astronomical telescope to the heavens in 1610, the Jovian system has been a focus of scientific inquiry ever since. — Chad Galts, Brown Alumni Monthly, November 1996 … his head was tilted at the precise angle of inquiry as to where he should put Muhlenberg's drink. — Theodore Sturgeon, E Pluribus Unicorn, (1953) 1965 … distinguish between legitimate legislative inquiry into the acts of a man … and illegitimate inquiry into opinions … — Norman Thomas, New Republic, 28 Feb. 1955 She refused to answer inquiries from the media about her marriage. The board ordered an inquiry to determine whether the rules had been followed. Further inquiry showed that he had visited the city twice before. The police are pursuing a new line of inquiry.
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Recent Examples on the Web Also, many counties have set up special phone lines for coronavirus inquiries from the public; your county public health department should have this information online. Mallory Moench,, "Bay Area coronavirus shutdown: What to know about getting medical treatment," 16 Mar. 2020 In a March 5 internal memo which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, UMG's lead archivist Pat Kraus says his team has reviewed more than 150,000 assets following nearly 400 inquiries from artists. Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tupac Shakur Estate, Soundgarden Leave Universal Fire Class Action," 13 Mar. 2020 Also, many counties have set up special phone lines for coronavirus inquiries from the public; your county public health department should have this information online. Staff Writers, Houston Chronicle, "Coronavirus hits Houston: What you need to know," 13 Mar. 2020 Library services, including research inquiries and photo and film reproductions, will also be paused during this period. oregonlive, "Coronavirus response: Public venues, OMSI, Children’s Museum, OHS close for 2 weeks," 13 Mar. 2020 Congress should begin work on legislation to establish a national public inquiry, akin to the 9/11 Commission, to help Americans learn what went wrong—and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus Commission in Trump’s Future," 12 Mar. 2020 Scientific American spoke with her about Cosmos, science communication and her vision of a world made better and more beautiful through rational inquiry. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Ann Druyan Is Reimagining the Future," 9 Mar. 2020 McCusker's name came up during President Trump's impeachment inquiry and trial. TheWeek, "White House withdraws nomination of Pentagon official who shared concerns over Ukraine aid freeze," 3 Mar. 2020 But the damage had been done—though Apple isn’t taking responsibility for damages—and Apple was hit with a series of class-action lawsuits and inquiries from the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017 and 2018. Lauren Goode, Wired, "Apple Might Owe You $25 for Slowing Down Your iPhone," 2 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inquiry.' 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 inquiry

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for inquiry

see inquire

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Learn More about inquiry

Time Traveler for inquiry

Time Traveler

The first known use of inquiry was in the 15th century

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Statistics for inquiry

Last Updated

20 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inquiry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for inquiry


How to pronounce inquiry (audio) How to pronounce inquiry (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inquiry

: a request for information
: an official effort to collect and examine information about something
: the act of asking questions in order to gather or collect information


in·​qui·​ry | \ ˈin-ˌkwī-rē How to pronounce inquiry (audio) , -kwə- \
plural inquiries

Kids Definition of inquiry

1 : the act of asking a question or seeking information On further inquiry, we learned his name.
2 : a request for information The inquiry is confidential.
3 : a thorough examination an official inquiry


in·​qui·​ry | \ ˈin-ˌkwīr-ē, in-ˈkwīr-ē; ˈin-kwə-rē, ˈiŋ- How to pronounce inquiry (audio) \
plural inquiries

Legal Definition of inquiry

1 : a request for information such doubt as would cause a reasonable person to make an inquiry
2 : a systematic official investigation often of a matter of public interest especially by a body (as a legislative committee) with power to compel testimony
on inquiry
: having notice that inquiry should be made

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More from Merriam-Webster on inquiry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inquiry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inquiry

Spanish Central: Translation of inquiry

Nglish: Translation of inquiry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inquiry for Arabic Speakers

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