English edit

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Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English enquery, from the Old French verb enquerre, from Latin inquīrō, composed of in- (in, at, on; into) + quaerō (I seek, look for), of uncertain origin, but possibly from Proto-Italic *kʷaizeō, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷeh₂- (to acquire). Later respelled to conform to the original Latin spelling, as opposed to the Old French spelling.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

inquiry (countable and uncountable, plural inquiries)

  1. The act of inquiring; a seeking of information by asking questions; interrogation; a question or questioning.
  2. Search for truth, information, or knowledge; examination of facts or principles; research; investigation
    Scientific inquiry

Usage notes edit

  • The spelling inquiry is more common, especially in American English, but also in British English.[1]
  • The 1926 Fowler's Modern English Usage said that inquiry should be used in relation to a formal inquest and enquiry to the general act of questioning, and said that British writers maintained this distinction. The Oxford English Dictionary, in its entry not updated since 1900, lists inquiry and enquiry as equal alternatives, in that order. Some British dictionaries, such as Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, present the two spellings as interchangeable variants in the general sense, but prefer inquiry for the "formal inquest" sense. In Australian English, inquiry represents a formal inquest (such as a government investigation) while enquiry is used in the act of questioning (e.g.: the customer enquired about the status of his loan application). Both spellings are current in Canadian English, where enquiry is often associated with scholarly or intellectual research.[2] American English usually uses inquiry.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  1. ^ Google Books Ngram Viewer
  2. ^ See Pam Peters, The Cambridge Guide to English Usage, p. 282.