indicating or implying a question: a questioning tone in her voice.
characterized by or indicating intellectual curiosity; inquiring: an alert and questioning mind.


an inquiry or interrogation.

Origin of questioning

First recorded in 1795–1805; question + -ing2, -ing1
Related formsques·tion·ing·ly, adverbhalf-ques·tion·ing, adjectivehalf-ques·tion·ing·ly, adverbun·ques·tion·ing, adjective




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.

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 formsques·tion·er, nouncoun·ter·ques·tion, noun, verbout·ques·tion, verb (used with object)pre·ques·tion, verb (used with object)re·ques·tion, verb (used with object)sub·ques·tion, noun

Synonyms for question

Antonyms for question

1, 11. answer, reply. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for questioning

examination, inquisition, inquest, inquiring, catechism

Examples from the Web for questioning

Contemporary Examples of questioning

Historical Examples of questioning

  • There was no questioning of such a known man as Bill Dozier.

  • They would be interesting, beyond shadow of questioning, horribly interesting.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Yet, his duty required that he should continue his questioning.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • There was no reply; and, after a little interval, the lawyer resumed his questioning.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • There was something about her eyes not unlike the dog's expression, submissive, but questioning.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for questioning



proceeding from or characterized by a feeling of doubt or uncertainty
enthusiastic or eager for philosophical or other investigations; intellectually stimulatedan alert and questioning mind
Derived Formsquestioningly, adverb



a form of words addressed to a person in order to elicit information or evoke a response; interrogative sentence
a point at issueit'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 pointa 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 provedSee petitio principii
beyond (all) question beyond (any) dispute or doubt
call in or into question
  1. to make (something) the subject of disagreement
  2. to cast doubt upon the validity, truth, etc, of (something)
in question under discussionthis is the man in question
out of the question beyond consideration; unthinkable or impossiblethe marriage is out of the question
pop the question informal to propose marriage

verb (mainly tr)

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 Formsquestioner, noun

Word Origin for question

C13: via Old French from Latin quaestiō, from quaerere to seek


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
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 questioning



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

Idioms and Phrases with questioning


see ask a stupid question; beg the question; beside the point (question); beyond question; burning question; call in question; in question; leading question; loaded question; open question; out of the question; pop the question; rhetorical question; without question.

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