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[in-kwahyuh r] /ɪnˈkwaɪər/
verb (used without object), inquired, inquiring.
to seek information by questioning; ask:
to inquire about a person.
to make investigation (usually followed by into):
to inquire into the incident.
verb (used with object), inquired, inquiring.
to seek to learn by asking:
to inquire a person's name.
Obsolete. to seek.
Obsolete. to question (a person).
Verb phrases
inquire after, to ask about the state of health or condition of:
Friends have been calling all morning to inquire after you.
Also, enquire.
Origin of inquire
1250-1300; Middle English < Latin inquīrere to seek for (see in-2, query); replacing Middle English enqueren < Old French enquerre < Latin, as above
Related forms
inquirable, adjective
inquirer, noun
reinquire, verb, reinquired, reinquiring.
uninquired, adjective
Can be confused
inquirer, inquisitor.
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for inquires
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How, he inquires, can we seize the thread of the progress of the human mind?

  • Excitedly curious, Paul inquires when and where Miss Randall moved.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • Another time he inquires for a small piece in octavo, "a new system of Agriculture, or a speedy way to grow rich."

    George Washington: Farmer Paul Leland Haworth
  • Thereupon the mob bursts in and inquires, "What are you doing for the people?"

    "Stops" Paul Allardyce
  • She inquires unsuspectingly for Andrew, and he leads her to the window.

    The Russian Opera Rosa Newmarch
British Dictionary definitions for inquires


  1. to seek information; ask: she inquired his age, she inquired about rates of pay
  2. (foll by of) to ask (a person) for information: I'll inquire of my aunt when she is coming
(intransitive) often foll by into. to make a search or investigation
Derived Forms
inquirer, enquirer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Latin inquīrere from in-² + quaerere to seek
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
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Word Origin and History for inquires



late 13c., from Old French enquerre "ask, inquire about" (Modern French enquérir), from Vulgar Latin *inquaerere, from Latin in- "into" (see in- (2)) + quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)). Respelled 14c. on Latin model, but half-Latinized enquire still persists. Related: Inquired; inquiring; inquiringly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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