[ in-kwahyuhr ]
/ ɪnˈkwaɪər /

verb (used without object), in·quired, in·quir·ing.

to seek information by questioning; ask: to inquire about a person.
to make investigation (usually followed by into): to inquire into the incident.

verb (used with object), in·quired, in·quir·ing.

to seek to learn by asking: to inquire a person's name.
Obsolete. to seek.
Obsolete. to question (a person).

Verb Phrases

inquire after, to ask about the state of health or condition of: Friends have been calling all morning to inquire after you.
Also enquire.

Origin of inquire

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin inquīrere to seek for (see in-2, query); replacing Middle English enqueren < Old French enquerre < Latin, as above


1–3 investigate, examine, query. Inquire, ask, question imply that a person addresses another to obtain information. Ask is the general word: to ask what time it is. Inquire is more formal and implies asking about something specific: to inquire about a rumor. To question implies repetition and persistence in asking; it often applies to legal examination or investigation: to question the survivor of an accident. Sometimes it implies doubt: to question a figure, an account.

Related forms

in·quir·a·ble, adjectivein·quir·er, nounre·in·quire, verb, re·in·quired, re·in·quir·ing.un·in·quired, adjective

Can be confused

inquirer inquisitor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for inquire after



/ (ɪnˈkwaɪə) /


  1. to seek information; askshe inquired his age; she inquired about rates of pay
  2. (foll by of) to ask (a person) for informationI'll inquire of my aunt when she is coming
(intr often foll by into) to make a search or investigation

Derived Forms

inquirer or enquirer, noun

Word Origin for inquire

C13: from Latin inquīrere from in- ² + 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

Idioms and Phrases with inquire after

inquire after

Ask about the health or condition of someone or something. For example, She was inquiring after you in particular. [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.