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 formsin·quis·i·tive·ly, adverbin·quis·i·tive·ness, nounsu·per·in·quis·i·tive, adjectivesu·per·in·quis·i·tive·ly, adverbsu·per·in·quis·i·tive·ness, nounun·in·quis·i·tive, adjectiveun·in·quis·i·tive·ly, adverbun·in·quis·i·tive·ness, noun

Synonym study

2. See curious.

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

Examples from the Web for inquisitive

Contemporary Examples of inquisitive

Historical Examples of inquisitive

  • Lauzanne was in an inquisitive mood, as the other two raced on in front.


    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 Formsinquisitively, adverbinquisitiveness, 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

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