verb so·lic·it \ sə-ˈli-sət \
|Updated on: 18 Aug 2018

Definition of solicit

solicited; soliciting; solicits
1 a : to make petition to : entreat
b : to approach with a request or plea
  • solicited Congress for funding
2 : to urge (something, such as one's cause) strongly
3 a : to entice or lure especially into evil
b : to proposition (someone) especially as or in the character of a prostitute
4 : to try to obtain by usually urgent requests or pleas
  • solicited donations
1 : to make solicitation : importune
2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

Examples of solicit in a Sentence

  1. The center is soliciting donations to help victims of the earthquake.

  2. The company is soliciting bids from various firms.

  3. The organization is soliciting new memberships.

  4. The newspaper's editors want to solicit opinions from readers.

  5. The organization is soliciting for donations.

  6. Special interest groups are soliciting Congress for funds.

  7. The prostitutes were arrested for soliciting customers.

Recent Examples of solicit from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solicit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What object does solicit take?

When used as a transitive verb, solicit can take as an object either the thing being requested or the source from which the thing is requested:

Enterprising capitalists have been soliciting funds on the Internet for years, turning to a passel of sites like Kickstarter to aggregate small commitments from like-minded individuals on behalf of a new idea or worthy cause.
Dave Flessner, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, 5 Nov. 2015

County supervisors and staff spent much of the remainder of the board retreat planning for a series of focus groups that will solicit community input for the strategic plan.
Carmen Forman, The Roanoke Times, 31 Jan. 2016

They could be so nimble because they aggressively solicited a small group of doubters and broadcast their misgivings as if they were based on rigorous and systematic research.
Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, 2007

They are among the 9,500 volunteers, says the campaign, who have signed up to solicit their friends and families by hosting individual fund-raising Web pages for Obama.
Karen Tumulty, Time, 16 July 2007

Origin and Etymology of solicit

Middle English, to disturb, promote, from Anglo-French solliciter, from Latin sollicitare to disturb, from sollicitus anxious, from sollus whole (from Oscan; akin to Greek holos whole) + citus, past participle of ciēre to move — more at safe, -kinesis

Synonym Discussion of solicit

ask, request, solicit mean to seek to obtain by making one's wants known. ask implies no more than the statement of the desire.
    • ask a favor of a friend
request implies greater formality and courtesy.
    • requests the pleasure of your company
solicit suggests a calling attention to one's wants or desires by public announcement or advertisement.
    • a letter soliciting information

SOLICIT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of solicit for English Language Learners

  • : to ask for (something, such as money or help) from people, companies, etc.

  • : to ask (a person or group) for money, help, etc.

  • : to offer to have sex with (someone) in return for money

SOLICIT Defined for Kids


verb so·lic·it \ sə-ˈli-sət \

Definition of solicit for Students

solicited; soliciting
1 : to come to with a request or plea
  • We solicited local businesses for donations.
2 : to try to get by asking or pleading
  • They solicited the help of their neighbors.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb so·lic·it \ sə-ˈli-sət \

legal Definition of solicit

1 : to make petition to
  • solicit the court
2 : to ask, induce, advise, or command (a person) to do something and especially to commit a crime — compare coerce, importune
3 : to attempt to persuade (a person) to purchase something
4 : to attempt to bring about or obtain by soliciting a person
  • solicit bribes
1 : to make solicitation
2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

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very hard to disturb or upset

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