May 20, 2009

Word of the Week

in⋅quire  [in-kwahyuhr]

–verb (used without object)

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

–verb (used with object)

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

—Verb phrase

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

1250–1300; ME < L inquīrere to seek for (see in- 2 , query ); r. ME enqueren < OF enquerre < L, as above

Related forms:
in⋅quir⋅a⋅ble, adjective
in⋅quir⋅er, noun

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.


One who inquires or examines; questioner; investigator. --Locke.

inquire. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc.

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