in·​quis·​i·​tive | \ in-ˈkwi-zə-tiv How to pronounce inquisitive (audio) \

Definition of inquisitive

1 : given to examination or investigation
2 : inclined to ask questions especially : inordinately or improperly curious about the affairs of others

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Other Words from inquisitive

inquisitively adverb
inquisitiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for inquisitive



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Choose the Right Synonym for inquisitive

curious, inquisitive, prying mean interested in what is not one's personal or proper concern. curious, a neutral term, basically connotes an active desire to learn or to know. children are curious about everything inquisitive suggests impertinent and habitual curiosity and persistent quizzing. dreaded the visits of their inquisitive relatives prying implies busy meddling and officiousness. prying neighbors who refuse to mind their own business

Examples of inquisitive in a Sentence

… but now, with the wanderings of the fleets and their inquisitive occupants producing words from all over, the English vocabulary was enhanced not merely by the usual suspects but by words from India and Turkey, Arabia and Malaya, Japan and the native peoples of North America … — Simon Winchester, The Meaning of Everything, 2003 It's partly because humans are naturally inquisitive and exploratory but also, and more significant, because we need the unknown, what historians of religion call "otherness," to lend our lives significance. — David Nicholson-Lord, Nation, 6 Oct. 1997 Inquisitive eyes reveal the dingo's true nature—it's a hunter, from its cocked ears and powerful jaws to the white tip of its tail. — Mitch Reardon, Australian Geographic, July–September 1992 an inquisitive woman who tends to everybody's business but her own
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Recent Examples on the Web But behind all that bluster lies an intelligent and inquisitive bird that devotes just as much energy to its lifelong mate and especially their young. René A. Guzman,, "San Antonio’s blue jay birds have a bold color and a brash bird call to match their attitude," 10 Nov. 2020 There are actually 20some Baer specials that take his inquisitive, architectural docent’s mind throughout Chicagoland, forever finding some new hook on which to hang a TV hour, some new historical tidbit to share with viewers. Steve Johnson,, "Review: WTTW’s ‘Chicago from the Air’ gives a drone’s-eye view of the city, region," 18 Nov. 2020 The paintings provide a mute, inquisitive audience for the mirrored room’s meditation on mediation, which now stands as an empty stage set that is roped off and cannot be entered. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Extreme alienation reigns in the Hammer Museum’s (unopened) biennial," 10 Nov. 2020 The dozen grand jurors appeared inquisitive throughout the proceedings, asking witnesses about the evidence and sometimes sounding skeptical about what was provided to them. John Eligon, New York Times, "Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Audio Reveals Conflicting Accounts of Fatal Raid," 2 Oct. 2020 Walking past apartments that seem to lean into each other and ignoring the steady gaze of an inquisitive woman peering out between strung-up laundry, the contact tracers are there to swab two generations of women in one family. Katie Nadworny, National Geographic, "Turkey has been contact tracing for a century. That offers lessons and perils.," 15 Oct. 2020 Decorate your spaces with faces: Friendly, inquisitive and knowing visages that will keep you company in the most stylish ways. Kara Nelson | Contributing Writer,, "About face: Bold decorative accessories add whimsy and a personal 'look'," 13 Oct. 2020 And the day-to-day work for a shiny new astronaut mostly involves touring suppliers around the country, leaving wives and children at home to fend off a highly inquisitive press. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The Right Stuff feels familiar as 1960s prestige TV comes to Disney+," 7 Oct. 2020 At times the jurors sound inquisitive or skeptical on the recordings, peppering the detectives with questions and pointing out inconsistencies in some of the officers’ accounts. John Eligon, New York Times, "Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Audio Reveals Conflicting Accounts of Fatal Raid," 2 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inquisitive.' 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 inquisitive

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inquisitive

see inquisition

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Time Traveler for inquisitive

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The first known use of inquisitive was in the 14th century

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Statistics for inquisitive

Last Updated

3 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inquisitive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for inquisitive


How to pronounce inquisitive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inquisitive

: tending to ask questions : having a desire to know or learn more
disapproving : asking too many questions about other people's lives


in·​quis·​i·​tive | \ in-ˈkwi-zə-tiv How to pronounce inquisitive (audio) \

Kids Definition of inquisitive

1 : in search of information … there will be crowds of scientists and other inquisitive people …— Oliver Butterworth, The Enormous Egg
2 : overly curious

Other Words from inquisitive

inquisitively adverb

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