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 inquisitively

Historical Examples of inquisitively

  • The Professor—I had guessed his identity—joined us, glancing at me inquisitively.

  • I then gazed at her so inquisitively that she understood instinctively.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Mr. Burns sighed, glanced at me inquisitively, as much as to say, "Aren't you going yet?"

    The Shadow-Line

    Joseph Conrad

  • She raised to me not her eyes but her whole face, inquisitively—perhaps in appeal.

    The Arrow of Gold

    Joseph Conrad

  • The surgeon glanced at him inquisitively, but asked no questions.

    Robert Hardy's Seven Days

    Charles Monroe Sheldon

British Dictionary definitions for inquisitively



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 inquisitively



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