[in-kwahyuh r-ing]


seeking facts, information, or knowledge: an inquiring mind.
curious; probing; inquisitive in seeking facts: an inquiring reporter.
scrutinizing; questioning: He looked at his father with inquiring eyes.

Origin of inquiring

First recorded in 1595–1605; inquire + -ing2
Related formsin·quir·ing·ly, adverbnon·in·quir·ing, adjectivenon·in·quir·ing·ly, adverbun·in·quir·ing, adjective



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
Related formsin·quir·a·ble, adjectivein·quir·er, nounre·in·quire, verb, re·in·quired, re·in·quir·ing.un·in·quired, adjective
Can be confusedinquirer inquisitor

Synonyms for inquire

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

Examples from the Web for inquiring

Contemporary Examples of inquiring

Historical Examples of inquiring

  • Inquiring for her, he seemed sorry to hear that she had gone on the excursion.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Mr Merdle made a similar reply, and Bishop explained his reason for inquiring.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • I gave a commission to ‘him,’ and I have been inquiring about him.

  • You look at each other and at me with an inquiring astonishment?


    Theodor Hertzka

  • However, we are not now inquiring into the causes of prophetic knowledge.

British Dictionary definitions for inquiring



seeking or tending to seek answers, information, etcan inquiring mind
Derived Formsinquiringly, adverb




  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 Formsinquirer 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

Word Origin and History for inquiring



late 13c., from Old French enquerre "ask, inquire about" (Modern French enquérir), from Vulgar Latin *inquaerere, from Latin in- "into" (see in- (2)) + quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)). Respelled 14c. on Latin model, but half-Latinized enquire still persists. Related: Inquired; inquiring; inquiringly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper