Try Our Apps


Words You've Been Using Wrong


[kwes-chuh n] /ˈkwɛs tʃən/
a sentence in an interrogative form, addressed to someone in order to get information in reply.
a problem for discussion or under discussion; a matter for investigation.
a matter of some uncertainty or difficulty; problem (usually followed by of):
It was simply a question of time.
a subject of dispute or controversy.
a proposal to be debated or voted on, as in a meeting or a deliberative assembly.
the procedure of putting a proposal to vote.
Politics. a problem of public policy submitted to the voters for an expression of opinion.
  1. a controversy that is submitted to a judicial tribunal or administrative agency for decision.
  2. the interrogation by which information is secured.
  3. Obsolete. judicial examination or trial.
the act of asking or inquiring; interrogation; query.
inquiry into or discussion of some problem or doubtful matter.
verb (used with object)
to ask (someone) a question; ask questions of; interrogate.
to ask or inquire.
to make a question of; doubt:
He questioned her sincerity.
to challenge or dispute:
She questioned the judge's authority in the case.
verb (used without object)
to ask a question or questions.
beg the question. beg1 (def 9).
beyond question, beyond dispute; without doubt:
It was, beyond question, a magnificent performance.
Also, beyond all question.
call in / into question,
  1. to dispute; challenge.
  2. to cast doubt upon; question:
    This report calls into question all previous research on the subject.
in question,
  1. under consideration.
  2. in dispute.
out of the question, not to be considered; unthinkable; impossible:
She thought about a trip to Spain but dismissed it as out of the question.
Origin of question
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English questio(u)n, questiun < Anglo-French questiun, Middle French question < Latin quaestiōn- (stem of quaestiō), equivalent to quaes-, stem of quaerere to ask + -tiōn- -tion; (v.) late Middle English < Middle French questioner, derivative of the noun
Related forms
questioner, noun
counterquestion, noun, verb
outquestion, verb (used with object)
prequestion, verb (used with object)
requestion, verb (used with object)
subquestion, noun
1. inquiry, query, interrogation. 11. query, examine. 12. See inquire.
1, 11. answer, reply. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for question
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A vote was taken on the question of exile, and the black pebbles predominated.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • These losses are doubtless irreparable so far as the stocks in question are concerned.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Whether it had ever been painted, was a question not easily solved.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Arrived at Calcutta, the question arose: "What shall we do with him?"

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • After watching Hope for a time in silence, she began to question her.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
British Dictionary definitions for question


a form of words addressed to a person in order to elicit information or evoke a response; interrogative sentence
a point at issue: it's only a question of time until she dies, the question is how long they can keep up the pressure
a difficulty or uncertainty; doubtful point: a question of money, there's no question about it
  1. an act of asking
  2. an investigation into some problem or difficulty
a motion presented for debate by a deliberative body
put the question, to require members of a deliberative assembly to vote on a motion presented
(law) a matter submitted to a court or other tribunal for judicial or quasi-judicial decision
question of fact, (in English law) that part of the issue before a court that is decided by the jury
question of law, (in English law) that part of the issue before a court that is decided by the judge
beg the question
  1. to avoid giving a direct answer by posing another question
  2. to assume the truth of that which is intended to be proved See petitio principii
beyond (all) question, beyond (any) dispute or doubt
call in, into question
  1. to make (something) the subject of disagreement
  2. to cast doubt upon the validity, truth, etc, of (something)
in question, under discussion: this is the man in question
out of the question, beyond consideration; unthinkable or impossible: the marriage is out of the question
(informal) pop the question, to propose marriage
verb (mainly transitive)
to put a question or questions to (a person); interrogate
to make (something) the subject of dispute or disagreement
to express uncertainty about the validity, truth, etc, of (something); doubt
Derived Forms
questioner, noun
Usage note
The question whether should be used rather than the question of whether or the question as to whether: this leaves open the question whether he acted correctly
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin quaestiō, from quaerere to seek
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for question

early 13c., "philosophical or theological problem;" early 14c. as "utterance meant to elicit an answer or discussion," also as "a difficulty, a doubt," from Anglo-French questiun, Old French question "question, difficulty, problem; legal inquest, interrogation, torture," from Latin quaestionem (nominative quaestio) "a seeking, a questioning, inquiry, examining, judicial investigation," noun of action from past participle stem of quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)).

No question "undoubtedly" is from mid-15c; no questions asked "accountability not required" is from 1879 (especially in newspaper advertisements seeking the return of something lost or stolen). Question mark is from 1849, sometimes also question stop (1862); figurative use is from 1869. To be out of the question (c.1700) is to be not pertinent to the subject, hence "not to be considered."


late 15c., from question (n.) and from Middle French questionner "ask questions, interrogate, torture" (13c.), from question (n.). Related: Questioned; questioning. Alternative questionize attested from 1847.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with question
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for question

Word Value for question

Scrabble Words With Friends