con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \
consulted; consulting; consults

Definition of consult

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to have regard to : consider "Adams, consult your own safety, and don't remain here … "— Charles Dickens
2a : to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor consult a lawyer
b : to refer to consult a dictionary

intransitive verb

1 : to consult an individual consulted with experts on the matter
2 : to deliberate together : confer … the three powers would consult on how to ameliorate the internal political conflict …— W. S. Vucinich
3 : to serve as a consultant


con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) , ˈkän-ˌsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \

Definition of consult (Entry 2 of 2)

Other Words from consult


consulter noun

Confer vs. Consult

Confer and consult are very closely related in meaning, and each has senses that are synonymous with the other’s. But as is so often the case with near-synonyms, there are contexts in which one word is preferable to the other.

If you confer with someone, it is entirely possible that you will be seeking advice, but you could also simply be having a discussion (“they conferred privately before making a decision”). If you are consulting someone or something, it is more likely that you are seeking advice (“he consulted his doctor before deciding on a course of treatment”). Consult is unambiguously the correct choice when one is seeking guidance or information from a non-human source; you would consult (not confer with) a dictionary for information on a word.

The sense of confer that is concerned with giving something (as in, “education confers many benefits”) is not shared by consult.

Examples of consult in a Sentence

Verb consult a lawyer about a business matter You should not attempt these exercises without first consulting your doctor. He made the decision without consulting me. I expect to be consulted on important decisions. I don't remember that part of the meeting; I'll have to consult my notes. Noun it was time for a change of do, which called for a consult with her hairdresser See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Under the current framework, physicians who want a test for an individual suspected to have monkeypox must first consult with a state epidemiologist. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 Under the current framework, physicians who want a test for an individual suspected to have monkeypox must first consult with a state epidemiologist., 23 June 2022 Under the current framework, physicians who want a test for an individual suspected to have monkeypox must first consult with a state epidemiologist. Anchorage Daily News, 23 June 2022 The Supreme Court lessened the impact of its landmark Miranda ruling Thursday, saying that while police must still advise suspects of their right to remain silent and consult a lawyer, they cannot be sued for damages for failing to do so. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 June 2022 Now, whether your next custom commission will be a three-piece suit or a polo shirt, consult the list of makers below. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 23 June 2022 Wong added people should consult with their health professionals to determine if any vitamins and supplements are worth taking. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 22 June 2022 And in an litany of other instances, Sharpton has been there to advocate, consult and lend support for Black people. Jake Coyle, ajc, 19 June 2022 After 20 hospital visits, a heart catheter procedure and many trips to Seattle to consult with specialists, Chaney was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a rare lung disorder that causes shortness of breath, dizziness and chest pressure. oregonlive, 12 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Details in the 42-page agreement included requirements that Wayne State consult with Ilitch's organization on curriculum and have a display honoring him in a prominent place. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, 21 June 2022 Hey Jane requires patients to be within the accessible state for both consult and treatment. Jennifer Korn, CNN, 7 June 2022 Consider a consult with a dermatologist to explore these more advanced alternatives. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 12 May 2022 Woohoo and Heartcount consult with psychologists and statisticians to ensure that their assessments focus on people’s emotional, rather than logical, responses to their work. New York Times, 16 May 2022 The tool isn’t meant to be used in isolation; teams would sit down with company DE&I staff to identify existing norms and then discuss, educate, consult, and collaborate on how a character’s representation is expressed beyond those norms. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 14 May 2022 Interviews with 17 people who represent, consult and tweet for celebrities show that Twitter is viewed as a high-risk, low-reward platform for many A-list entertainers. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2022 Weapons and military equipment can be clues as to what transpired; reporters consult with military experts on that. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 Early on in the production process — aside from consulting with creator Dustin Lance Black, who grew up Mormon — the star went to Utah to meet with both current and former members of the church, as well as consult with Mormon police officers. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of consult


1527, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1560, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for consult

Verb and Noun

Middle French or Latin; Middle French consulter, from Latin consultare, frequentative of consulere to deliberate, counsel, consult

Learn More About consult

Time Traveler for consult

Time Traveler

The first known use of consult was in 1527

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Dictionary Entries Near consult

consul general



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Statistics for consult

Last Updated

29 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Consult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for consult


con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \
consulted; consulting

Kids Definition of consult

1 : to seek the opinion or advice of consult a doctor
2 : to seek information from consult a dictionary
3 : to talk something over I'll have to consult with my lawyer.


transitive verb
con·​sult | \ kən-ˈsəlt How to pronounce consult (audio) \

Medical Definition of consult

: to ask the advice or opinion of consult a doctor

More from Merriam-Webster on consult

Nglish: Translation of consult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of consult for Arabic Speakers


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