Definition of inquiry in English:

inquiry

(British enquiry)

nouninquiries

  • 1An act of asking for information.

    • ‘the police were making inquiries in all the neighbouring pubs’
    • ‘we are getting a lot of inquiries from people who are relatively new to acquiring art’
    • ‘new areas of inquiry emerged in the course of the conference’
    • ‘all lines of inquiry are open’
    question, query
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An official investigation.
      ‘he was one of the State's star witnesses in the murder inquiry’
      ‘eventually the independent inquiry was published, which found that there was no case to answer’
      investigation, examination, exploration, probe, search, scrutiny, scrutinization, study, inspection
      View synonyms

Usage

The traditional distinction between enquiry and inquiry is that enquiry is used for the general sense of ‘an act of asking for information’ while inquiry is reserved for the meaning ‘a formal investigation’. In practice, however, there is little discernible distinction in the way the words are used today, although inquiry is far commoner than enquiry in the sense ‘a formal investigation’. Inquiry is the usual form in US English, with enquiry being mainly restricted to British English

Origin

Late Middle English (as enquery): from inquire + -y.

Pronunciation

inquiry

/ɪnˈkwʌɪri/