Definition of enquire in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈkwʌɪə/


chiefly British
1 [reporting verb] Ask for information from someone: [no object]: he enquired about cottages for sale [with clause]: I enquired where he lived [with direct speech]: ‘How well do you know Berlin?’ he enquired of Hencke
More example sentences
  • Anyone requiring further information should enquire at the shop.
  • We are here to enquire and to secure information and facts.
  • Having enquired at all car rental information desks at Dublin airport, the answer was the same.
ask, make enquiries, ask questions, pose a question, request information;
want to know, look to someone for answers
1.1 [no object] (enquire after) Ask about the health and well-being of (someone): Angus enquired after her parents
More example sentences
  • The report adds: ‘While en-route the President phoned the officer, enquiring after his well-being and apologising for the accident.’
  • Wouldn't have thought that someone like you would be enquiring after the well-being of their elderly relatives.
  • As well as health problems, Flora has had ongoing educational difficulties, but the documentary will allege that Parkinson made little or no effort to enquire after her well-being, still less to see her or provide for her.
1.2 [no object] (enquire for) Ask to see or speak to (someone): that was Mr Paul enquiring for you—I told him he couldn’t come in
More example sentences
  • If by chance, you should look for me, perchance you'll not me find - enquire for Renardine.
  • Early in the morning of Sunday, 21st November 1920 a number of men called to 38 Mount Street and on enquiring for Lieutenant Aimes were let in by the maid Katherine Farrell.
  • When she reiterated that she was enquiring for someone else, the voice asked her whether the patient was still breathing!
2 [no object] (enquire into) Investigate; look into: the task of political sociology is to enquire into the causes of political events
More example sentences
  • If the Inspector does not enquire into it, or does so and finds no reason to amend the return, the statutory scheme of self-assessment is final.
  • Absolutely, and that is particularly so in cases where one is enquiring into the state of mind of an officer, as to whether he acted in self-defence, which is a very common issue.
  • The standard of patient care has never been in question or doubt and remains high and unaffected by any of the issues being enquired into by the trustees.
conduct an enquiry, make enquiries, probe, look;
subject to an examination
informal check out, suss out, snoop


The traditional distinction between enquire and inquire is that enquire is used for general senses of ‘ask’ while inquire is reserved for uses meaning ‘make a formal investigation’. In practice, however, there is little discernible distinction in the way the two words are used today in British English, although inquiry is commoner than enquiry in the sense ‘a formal investigation’. In all senses inquire and inquiry are the more usual forms in US English, whereas enquire and enquiry are chiefly restricted to British English.



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈkwʌɪərə/
Example sentences
  • Alas, this didn't work, and concern grew as my enquirer's questions became more inquisitive and her manner increasingly flirtatious.
  • Please could any enquirers contact either Mr Harrison or Mr Breese at the auctioneers offices in the first instance.
  • The enquirer on the other end of the line was being assured that the place was easily accessible.


Middle English enquere, from Old French enquerre, based on Latin inquirere (based on quaerere 'seek').

  • question from Late Middle English:

    This comes via Old French from Latin quaerere ‘ask, seek’. Also from quaerere are query (mid 17th century) an anglicized form of the Latin quaere, ‘Ask!’ used in the 16th century in English as a verb in the sense ‘enquire’; quest (Late Middle English); and inquest.

Words that rhyme with enquire

acquire, admire, afire, applier, aspire, attire, ayah, backfire, barbwire, bemire, briar, buyer, byre, choir, conspire, crier, cryer, defier, denier, desire, dire, drier, dryer, dyer, entire, esquire, expire, fire, flyer, friar, fryer, Gaia, gyre, hellfire, hire, hiya, ire, Isaiah, jambalaya, Jeremiah, Josiah, Kintyre, latria, liar, lyre, Maia, Maya, Mayer, messiah, mire, misfire, Nehemiah, Obadiah, papaya, pariah, peripeteia, perspire, playa, Praia, prior, pyre, quire, replier, scryer, shire, shyer, sire, skyer, Sophia, spire, squire, supplier, Surabaya, suspire, tier, tire, transpire, trier, tumble-dryer, tyre, Uriah, via, wire, Zechariah, Zedekiah, Zephaniah

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: en|quire

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