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Alternative formsEdit


From Latin inquīrō (to seek for). Displaced Middle English enqueren (from Old French enquerre, of the same source) and native Old English speir (ask, inquire).



inquire (third-person singular simple present inquires, present participle inquiring, simple past and past participle inquired) (transitive, intransitive)

  1. (intransitive, US) To ask (about something).
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0124:
      "A fine man, that Dunwody, yonder," commented the young captain, as they parted, and as he turned to his prisoner. "We'll see him on in Washington some day. [] A strong man—a strong one; and a heedless." ¶ "Of what party is he?" she inquired, as though casually.
  2. (intransitive) To make an inquiry or an investigation.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To call; to name.
    • Edmund Spenser
      Canute had his portion from the rest, The which he call'd Canutium, for his hire, Now Cantium, which Kent we commonly inquire.

Usage notesEdit

  • In British English, the spelling enquire is more common, with inquire often reserved for official inquests. In Canada and the US, both spellings are acceptable, though inquire is favored.


  • frain (dialect or obsolete)

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


See alsoEdit