Definition of inquire in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈkwīr/
(also chiefly British enquire)


1 [reporting verb] Ask for information from someone: [with direct speech]: “How well do you know Berlin?” he inquired of Hencke [with clause]: I inquired where he lived [no object]: he inquired about cottages for sale
More example sentences
  • The first of these inquired about the future of religiously informed scholarship.
  • We also inquired about mobility and living circumstances to determine any association.
  • It's the Congress' job to determine how candid she was with us as we inquired about this story.
ask, make inquiries, question someone, request/solicit information
1.1 [no object] (inquire after) Ask about the health and well-being of (someone): Annie inquired after her parents
More example sentences
  • Greetings may be prolonged, for it is customary to inquire after a person's family, health, and work.
  • The captain has sent me to inquire after the crew.
  • Although she does inquire after Mrs. Thornley's life and specifically about Mr. Thornley, she pays only slight attention to what Mrs. Thornley says in her brief replies.
1.2 [no object] (inquire for) Ask to see or speak to (someone): that was Mr. Paul inquiring for you—I told him he couldn’t come in
More example sentences
  • Dorset discovered she was not the first to inquire for the young maiden and all the sudden attention was of great concern to the abbess.
2 [no object] (inquire into) Investigate; look into: the task of political sociology is to inquire into the causes of political events
More example sentences
  • Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary's authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.
  • I think it's also correct that when you appoint someone to the joint chiefs of staff, you shouldn't inquire into their personal beliefs.
  • It is when you inquire into eating habits, not just recent but throughout entire lifetimes, that all this malnutrition begins to make sense.
investigate, conduct an inquiry into/about/regarding, probe, look into;
research, examine, explore, delve into, study
informal check out


Inquire (and inquiry) are the usual US spellings; enquire and enquiry are the standard forms in Britain. Some American speakers put the stress on the first syllable of the noun inquiry, but the dominant pronunciation stresses the second.



Pronunciation: /inˈkwīrər/
Example sentences
  • Similarly, negotiators and inquirers must acknowledge their own biases and ‘remain open to the positions and interests of others’.
  • A big attraction for subscribers is an online ‘price request’ facility, allowing for inquirers and engineers looking for specific prices on equipment or services to find suppliers and their price tags at the push of a button.
  • In times to come, historical inquirers will know better how to appraise its importance and influence, even in what is at present hidden from our gaze and where no or only grudging recognition is accorded.


Middle English enquere (later inquere), from Old French enquerre, from a variant of Latin inquirere, based on quaerere 'seek'. The spelling with in-, influenced by Latin, dates from the 15th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·quire

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