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[in-kwiz-i-tiv] /ɪnˈkwɪz ɪ tɪv/
given to inquiry, research, or asking questions; eager for knowledge; intellectually curious:
an inquisitive mind.
unduly or inappropriately curious; prying.
an inquisitive person:
thick curtains to frustrate inquisitives.
Origin of inquisitive
1350-1400; < Late Latin inquīsītīvus, equivalent to Latin inquīsīt(us) (see inquisition) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English inquisitif < Middle French < Late Latin, as above
Related forms
inquisitively, adverb
inquisitiveness, noun
superinquisitive, adjective
superinquisitively, adverb
superinquisitiveness, noun
uninquisitive, adjective
uninquisitively, adverb
uninquisitiveness, noun
1, 2. uninterested.
Synonym Study
2. See curious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inquisitive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Lauzanne was in an inquisitive mood, as the other two raced on in front.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • As for the inquisitive folk on the pavement they only saw the backs of the guards.

  • One night we put fourteen inquisitive porcupines out of camp.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • "You are neither an inquisitive nor an emotional person," Wrayson said.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Little Fay stood with her head on one side like an inquisitive sparrow.

    Jan and Her Job L. Allen Harker
British Dictionary definitions for inquisitive


excessively curious, esp about the affairs of others; prying
eager to learn; inquiring
Derived Forms
inquisitively, adverb
inquisitiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inquisitive

late 14c., from Old French inquisitif, from Late Latin inquisitivus "making inquiry," from Latin inquisit-, past participle stem of inquirere (see inquire).

An housbonde shal nat been Inquisityf of goddes pryuetee nor of his wyf. [Chaucer, "Miller's Prologue"]
Related: Inquisitively; inquisitiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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