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

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 The case is the first criminal contempt proceeding brought as part of the congressional panel’s inquiry into the attack on Congress 10 months ago. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 17 Nov. 2021 The probe is part of the state’s broader inquiry into the e-cigarette industry, including manufacturers, distributors and retailers who sell near North Carolina schools, said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. Jennifer Maloney, WSJ, 16 Nov. 2021 Prince Charles's closest confidant for decades has left his post as head of the royal's Prince's Foundation amid an ongoing inquiry into cash for official honors, PEOPLE has confirmed. Simon Perry,, 12 Nov. 2021 But an inquiry into the drone strike by the Air Force’s inspector general, Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, said that was wrong. New York Times, 8 Nov. 2021 The key source of information used to compile a salacious 2016 dossier on former President Donald Trump has been arrested as part of special counsel John Durham's long-running inquiry into the Russia investigation. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2021 Reed was never charged, and his lawyers said federal prosecutors told them in August that the inquiry into Reed had been closed. Kate Brumback, ajc, 3 Nov. 2021 Results are an inquiry into what the team collectively accomplished. Thomas Lim, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 Barclays said Monday that its chief executive, James E. Staley, would step down immediately following the results of an inquiry by British financial regulators into Staley’s relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein., 1 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for inquiry

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near inquiry

inquire of


inquiry agent

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Statistics for inquiry

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inquiry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for inquiry



English Language Learners Definition of inquiry

: a request for information
: an official effort to collect and examine information about something : investigation
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on inquiry

Nglish: Translation of inquiry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inquiry for Arabic Speakers


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