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ques·​tion·​ing ˈkwes-chə-niŋ How to pronounce questioning (audio)
plural questionings
: 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


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: expressing or implying a question
a questioning look
… looking at her with a questioning and rather startled gaze.Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
: 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
: 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
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

Examples of questioning in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
On Wednesday, Rubiales was detained for questioning after arriving in Madrid from an international flight, according to Spain’s Civil Guard, in what multiple media reports suggested was part of an ongoing corruption probe relating to his tenure as RFEF president. Thomas Schlachter, CNN, 5 Apr. 2024 While some have found meaning in their daily projects or interactions with their bosses, there’s still a larger questioning of the system at play. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 4 Apr. 2024 But as soon as prosecutor Brad Ng began his questioning by asking whether Harris had been at the scene on April 3, 2022, Harris invoked his Fifth Amendment right against testifying. Sam Stanton, Sacramento Bee, 2 Apr. 2024 During police investigations, interrogations -- the formal questioning of a potential suspect -- are critical and can lead to a big break in the case. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 1 Apr. 2024 Much of the justices’ questioning on Tuesday focused heavily on whether this group had proven such harm. Emily Mullin, WIRED, 26 Mar. 2024 Quade’s questioning of Hamra’s residency comes ahead of what is expected to be a contentious Democratic primary for governor. Kacen Bayless, Kansas City Star, 25 Mar. 2024 The interview ended with testy remarks from Musk over Lemon's questioning of X's free speech policies and the loss of big advertisers. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 18 Mar. 2024 The search has taken officers across the state, involved multiple agencies and employed door-to-door questioning in rural areas. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 6 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'questioning.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near questioning

Cite this Entry

“Questioning.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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