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 fateThomas 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

Examples of inquire in a Sentence

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 If that's the case, Hicks says there are certain factors to inquire before purchasing a pre-cut tree from a farm. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 Even without your help, children are natural scientists, constantly observing, inquiring, discovering, testing, and problem-solving, according to Rachel Robertson, vice president of education development at Bright Horizons. Cheryl Fenton, Parents, 22 Nov. 2023 The principal also was placed on a two-week leave after inquiring how much longer the temple would be flying Israeli flags. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2023 Wallace sends a Major William Este to the Maryland Club to inquire about he and his men getting access while in town, for meals, hospitality, etc. Anna Deavere Smith, The Atlantic, 13 Nov. 2023 There is even a record of Roddenberry writing to contacts at the production house inquiring to get it back to no avail. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 7 Nov. 2023 In fact, when negotiating for a job prospective employees shouldn’t be shy about inquiring about the perk menu, or asking if certain benefits could be added. Perri Ormont Blumberg, WSJ, 27 Oct. 2023 The warrant also inquired about Mr. Adams’s campaign’s use of New York City’s generous public matching program, in which New York City offers an eight-to-one match of the first $250 of a resident’s donation. Michael Rothfeld, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 When the family inquired as to what happened to the necklace and the cash, they were told that nothing was found on the body. Rebecca Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 9 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inquire.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 3 Dec. 2023.

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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