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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Synonyms for solicit


canvass (also canvas), interview, poll, survey

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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

And in the event that a contract is solicited for a mission that a reusable launch vehicle is not eligible to compete for, the Air Force should report back to Congress with the reason why. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "After 25 years, military told to move from “expendable” to “reusable” rockets," 27 July 2018 Industry officials said the administration has solicited industry feedback. Courtney Mcbride, WSJ, "U.S. Weapons Transfers, Pushed by Trump, Rise by 13%," 8 Nov. 2018 Collins was using his position in Congress to personally benefit the company and solicit investors. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The 4 Republican scandals that could tip the 2018 midterms, explained," 5 Nov. 2018 But there’s nothing unusual about a new cabinet secretary coming to office inclined to favor a different policy direction, soliciting support from other agencies to bolster his views, disagreeing with staff, or cutting through red tape. Larry Neumeister, The Seattle Times, "Judge won’t delay census citizenship question trial," 26 Oct. 2018 So as a company grows, a good CEO has to spend more time learning what his subordinates are doing and soliciting feedback about possible decisions. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Tesla is outgrowing Elon Musk," 29 Sep. 2018 She's also charged with soliciting a donation of tramadol, a prescription painkiller sometimes used for dogs and cats. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Woman who sheltered Hurricane Florence animals is charged with practicing veterinary medicine without license," 24 Sep. 2018 His goal is to increase the number of poetry books in the village by soliciting both local and national poets to donate their books to Kettle Moraine High School. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wales poet laureate working to increase access to poetry for students and residents," 10 July 2018 Buncich was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison after he was convicted in August of bribery and wire fraud, among other charges, for soliciting bribes from county tow operators in his public corruption trial. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "No charges for jail employee who was also imprisoned Lake County sheriff's 'significant other,' prosecutor says," 13 July 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

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on solicit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with solicit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for solicit

Spanish Central: Translation of solicit

Nglish: Translation of solicit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of solicit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on solicit

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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