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

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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 That’s a lot of money to give to institutions that have shown themselves contemptuous of conservative values and the cause of free inquiry. Frederick M. Hess, National Review, "Don’t Fix Colleges; Build Them," 17 Sep. 2020 Navajo Nation leadership on Tuesday called for a congressional inquiry and investigation into the recent deaths of two tribal members in separate incidents at Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas. Emily Wilder, The Arizona Republic, "Navajo Nation demands answers in deaths of 2 tribal members at Fort Hood," 9 Sep. 2020 Strzok was asked about the criminal inquiry into the Trump-Russia investigators, which is being overseen by Attorney General William Barr, during a Tuesday interview with Tony Dokoupil on CBS’s This Morning. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "'If he finds the truth, I’m not worried': Peter Strzok says he hasn’t been interviewed by John Durham," 8 Sep. 2020 Thank you for your commitment to inquiry and truth. Star Tribune, "Read "thank you" messages to Minnesotan scientists and researchers written by you.," 28 Aug. 2020 The court documents released on Monday reflected concerns within the Trump Organization that the attorney general’s civil inquiry could develop into a criminal investigation. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "N.Y. Attorney General Asks Judge to Order Eric Trump’s Testimony," 24 Aug. 2020 Previous experience in journalism is not necessary, but applicants should possess a love of writing, inquiry and debate. The Economist, "Internship," 22 Aug. 2020 The remainder of the interview hasn’t been remembered as well, but Kennedy’s response to Mudd’s next inquiry was just as awful. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Joe Kennedy’s Utterly Pointless, Utterly Consequential Campaign," 17 Aug. 2020 So, use inquiry and curiosity to understand their world and broaden your perspective. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Businesses, ditch diversity at your own peril," 16 Aug. 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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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 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inquiry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 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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Comments on inquiry

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