so·lic·it | \sə-ˈli-sət \
solicited; soliciting; solicits

Definition of solicit 

transitive verb

1a : 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

3a : 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

intransitive verb

1 : to make solicitation : importune

2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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

Examples of solicit in a Sentence

The center is soliciting donations to help victims of the earthquake. The company is soliciting bids from various firms. The organization is soliciting new memberships. The newspaper's editors want to solicit opinions from readers. The organization is soliciting for donations. Special interest groups are soliciting Congress for funds. The prostitutes were arrested for soliciting customers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

IndyStar solicited input from multiple area coaches during the selection process. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "American Family Insurance ALL-USA Indy-area baseball Super Team," 29 June 2018 Museum staff and members of an advisory committee in 2015 began traveling around the country and meeting with tribal leaders and military veterans to solicit their input on the memorial. Author: Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, "Design chosen for first national monument to Native American veterans," 27 June 2018 The firm solicits input from investors who track its indexes. Nicolas Parasie, WSJ, "Argentina to Join Widely Watched Emerging Markets Index By MSCI," 20 June 2018 Yee’s office also organized an outreach campaign soliciting public input on what the street ought to be called instead. Dominic Fracassa,, "Citing racist connection, SF changes Phelan Avenue to Frida Kahlo Way," 19 June 2018 And the group is contacting neighborhood associations to solicit input about residents' concerns and involvement. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "A new group is pushing for better roads, more spending in a booming part of Charlotte," 7 June 2018 Bruce Fraser, an assistant coach, described these sessions as think-tankish: Kerr solicits input from his staff, then listens. Marc Stein, New York Times, "Why Do the Warriors Dominate the 3rd Quarter? Consider Their Halftime Drill," 31 May 2018 Prince George’s County police, in an effort to solicit more public input, last week announced that the coroner’s office ruled the death of Ki Johnson, 18, a homicide. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "Laurel teen's 2017 death ruled a homicide," 27 May 2018 The session, set for 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 24 Lowell St., is one of a series of public meetings MassDOT is holding to solicit input into a multibillion update to its capital investment plan. John Laidler,, "MassDOT to hold public meeting May 23 in Peabody," 17 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of solicit

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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

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Statistics for solicit

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for solicit

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

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More Definitions for solicit



English Language Learners Definition of solicit

: 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


so·lic·it | \sə-ˈli-sət \
solicited; soliciting

Kids Definition of solicit

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.


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

intransitive verb

1 : to make solicitation

2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

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Comments on solicit

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