in·​qui·​ry | \in-ˈkwī(-ə)r-ē, ˈin-ˌ;ˈin-kwə-rē, 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

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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

His research triggered an inquiry by Senate Democrats, who sent letters to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile asking for detailed information on their throttling practices. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "How a phone app detected Sprint’s alleged throttling of Skype," 29 Nov. 2018 Weber did not immediately respond to questions as to why the department waived background checks, and referred inquiries to the inspector general. Garance Burke And Martha Mendoza, The Seattle Times, "US waived FBI checks on staff at growing teen migrant camp," 28 Nov. 2018 General Inquiries: Please send general inquiries regarding intellectual property issues to FEEDBACK 2. Bloomberg, "Terms of Service," 8 July 2018 However, Morgan said her committee has no immediate plans to hold an inquiry. Ian Wishart,, "Brexit Bulletin: Pandora’s Box," 27 June 2018 Hope that the feeling of invincibility that Amazon sometimes exhibits throws it off track or stirs up real regulatory inquiries? Jason Del Rey, Recode, "This is the Amazon everyone should have feared — and it has nothing to do with its retail business," 26 July 2018 Authorities did not state why Satterfield was already in custody, and PEOPLE’s inquiry was not immediately answered. Kc Baker,, "Missing Family of 3 Is Found Dead and Burned, Police Believe — and Man Seen Driving Mom's Car Is Charged," 18 June 2018 Even Senator Jeff Flake, in the end, voted for Kavanaugh, despite the elevator pitch that allegedly convinced him to demand a further FBI instigation, an inquiry that was still born from the moment it was conceived. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “Look At Us!”," 7 Oct. 2018 The other restaurants targeted in the inquiry are Dunkin’ Donuts, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Little Caesars, Panera Bread, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Rachel Abrams, New York Times, "‘No Poach’ Deals for Fast-Food Workers Face Scrutiny by States," 9 July 2018

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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Statistics for inquiry

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inquiry

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

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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

: the act of asking questions in order to gather or collect information


in·​qui·​ry | \ˈin-ˌkwī-rē, -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- \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inquiry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inquiry

Spanish Central: Translation of inquiry

Nglish: Translation of inquiry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inquiry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inquiry

What made you want to look up inquiry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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