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 The government has commissioned panels of inquiry into police brutality, and the president promised to disband the notoriously abusive police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS. Ruth Maclean New York Times, Star Tribune, "Nigeria goes on offense against youth protests," 14 Nov. 2020 The government has commissioned panels of inquiry into police brutality, and the presidentpromised to disband the notoriously abusive police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS. Ruth Maclean, New York Times, "Nigeria Goes on Offensive Against Youth Protesting Police Brutality," 13 Nov. 2020 Wilson, however, launched his own inquiry, which included a review of thousands of pages of documents from the trial. Scott Glover, CNN, "Grandfather serving 505-year sentence ordered to be released 'without delay'," 13 Nov. 2020 That line of inquiry starts with a comparison of the specs. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iPad Air 2020 review: Semi-pro," 10 Nov. 2020 There were obvious lines of inquiry to pursue in the wake of the Elias-Zelinsky hearing that seem to have gone nowhere. Ankush Khardori, The New Republic, "How to De-Trumpify the Justice Department," 9 Nov. 2020 Brentwood police said the results of its inquiry into the matter would nonetheless be forwarded to the U.S. Secret Service. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "Home vandalized after California man hangs effigy of Biden," 7 Nov. 2020 Prosecutors wrote that their inquiry found no evidence that anyone from the U.S. attorney’s office participated in the leaks. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "Sports Gambler Billy Walters Files Suit Faulting Ex-FBI Agent Over Leaks," 22 Oct. 2020 Without backing from Moore, whose office referred the matter to Paxton, the state agency could not continue its inquiry. Lauren Mcgaughy, Dallas News, "Texas AG ends investigation into friend and donor that sparked cries of wrongdoing from top staff," 9 Oct. 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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inquiry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 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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