ques·​tion·​ing | \ ˈkwes-chə-niŋ How to pronounce questioning (audio) , ˈkwesh- \
plural questionings

Definition of questioning

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the activity or process of asking questions Illocutionary acts … such as stating, questioning, promising, or commanding.— Ronald Wardhaugh … serious questionings of the relation between art and life …— J. Dennis Huston Her folks and very pregnant sister met us at the restaurant, and it didn't take long for me to warm up to them. After sweating through a few rounds of questioning, I felt a little more at ease …Cosmopolitan The time had also passed for any further questioning about what genes were. The name of the game was DNA.— James D. Watson et al. often : judicial interrogation As she continued her questioning, she found herself pounding the witness stand, her voice rising in accusation until it was a scream. — Carol Lynn Mithers The FBI has seized your computers and brought you in for questioning. — Graham P. Collins CNN made a disconcerting habit of breaking away for commercials without regard to what was happening in the court—often in the middle of a line of questioning. — David Hiltbrand



Definition of questioning (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : expressing or implying a question a questioning look … looking at her with a questioning and rather startled gaze.— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
2 : inclined to ask questions or seek information : inquisitive The changes of direction are partly explained by this questioning attitude, and partly by his having written the book over twenty years.— Sarah Bakewell For a man with as questioning a mind as Charles Darwin's there was no danger of mental vegetation.— Ronald W. Clark
3 : uncertain about or engaged in exploring one's own sexual or gender identity Suburban Connecticut's first support group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning youths had just begun, and Alex was proving how desperately it was needed.— Dan Woog Facebook provides more than 50 options beyond "male" and "female" for users to describe their gender identity, from "gender questioning" and "neither" to "androgynous."Chicago Tribune

Other Words from questioning


questioningly adverb
I stared questioningly at Mama, not really understanding. — Mildred D. Taylor The bartender came over and looked questioningly at Julie. "I'll have a Scotch sour on the rocks," she said. — Robert B. Parker

First Known Use of questioning


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about questioning

Time Traveler for questioning

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for questioning

Cite this Entry

“Questioning.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for questioning



English Language Learners Definition of questioning

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the activity or process of asking questions



English Language Learners Definition of questioning (Entry 2 of 2)

: showing a feeling of doubt or a desire to ask a question in order to get information

Comments on questioning

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!