inquiry


inquiry
inquiry, inquisition, investigation, inquest, probe, research all mean a search for truth, knowledge, or information.
Inquiry is the most general of these terms, applicable to such search regardless of the means (as questioning, observation, or experimentation) used or of the end in view
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make inquiries about a sick friend

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the passion for pure knowledge is to be gratified only through the scientific method of inquiryEliot

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witnesses convicted of contempt of Congressional inquiries—Current Biog.y legislative inquiry into the acts of a man or group of men— Thomas

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a primitive but effective police inquiry—T. S. Eliot

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Inquisition ordinarily carries heightened implications of searchingness and of penetration far below the surface to uncover what is concealed or withheld
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Strenuously protested against being subjected to an inquisition into his motives

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The term, however, is chiefly applied to a judicial inquiry aiming to unearth facts or conditions to support suspicions or charges; probably from its historical application to the ruthless ferreting out of heretics or heresy especially in the late Middle Ages and in the Reformation period, the term generally connotes relentless pursuit of a clue or of a suspect, and sometimes merciless and rigorous persecution
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when, as becomes a man who would prepare for such an arduous work, I through myself make rigorous inquisition, the report is often cheering— Wordsworth

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the whole notion of loyalty inquisitions is a natural characteristic of the police state— New Republic

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Investigation applies to an inquiry which has for its aim the uncovering of the facts and the establishment of the truth
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by their bullying tactics, by their having turned needed investigations into regrettable inquisitions— J. M. Brown

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In distinctive use it implies a systematic tracking down of something that one hopes to discover or needs to know
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a strong movement to make American universities centers of scholarly work and scientific investigationConant

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an investigation of the causes of the prolonged depression

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the bank never employs a clerk or teller without an investigation of his habits and record

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Inquest applies chiefly to a judicial or official inquiry or examination especially before a jury, and specifically to one conducted by a coroner and jury in order to determine the cause of a death
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when the rumors of murder became rife, the body was exhumed and an inquest held

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In more general use, the term usually applies to an investigation that has some of the characteristics of a coroner's inquest (as the exploration of the grounds for an accusation or suspicion in relation to some disastrous or troubling event)
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an inquest on the fall of Singapore and the sinking of H. M. S. Repulse and H. M. S. Prince of Wales—New Yorker

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Probe applies to an investigation that searches deeply and extensively with the intent to determine the presence or absence of wrongdoing; it suggests methods of exploration comparable to a surgeon's probing for a bullet
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a legislative probe of banking activities

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another probe would result merely in a reshuffle in police and political circles— Newsweek

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Research applies chiefly to an inquiry or investigation which requires prolonged and careful study, especially of actual conditions or of primary sources of information. It is especially applicable to scholarly and creative inquiries or investigations (as by scientists, historians, or linguists) especially for the sake of uncovering new knowledge, of getting at the facts when these are not known, or of discovering laws of nature
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basic research in science is concerned with understanding the laws of nature— Grainger

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research is a creative activity engaged in by talented human beings— Leedy

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but it may sometimes be used for a study leading to the writing of a résumé of facts or laws already known
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research has shown and practice has established the futility of the charge that it was a usurpation when this Court undertook to declare an Act of Congress unconstitutional— Justice Holmes

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or even for quite casual or trivial investigations
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I . . . managed to get involved in a highway accident. All in the interest of research, you understand— Joseph

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Analogous words: questioning, interrogation, catechizing (see corresponding verbs at ASK): examination, inspection, scrutiny, audit (see under SCRUTINIZE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • inquiry — in·qui·ry / in ˌkwīr ē, in kwīr ē; in kwə rē, iŋ / n pl ries 1: a request for information such doubt as would cause a reasonable person to make an inquiry 2: a systematic official investigation often of a matter of public interest esp. by a body… …   Law dictionary

  • Inquiry — In*quir y, n.; pl. {Inquiries}. [See {Inquire}.] [Written also {enquiry}.] 1. The act of inquiring; a seeking for information by asking questions; interrogation; a question or questioning. [1913 Webster] He could no path nor track of foot descry …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • inquiry — mid 15c., enquery, from enquere (see INQUIRE (Cf. inquire)). Respelled from mid 16c. to conform to Latin …   Etymology dictionary

  • inquiry — [n] asking; looking into analysis, audit, catechizing, check, cross examination, delving, disquisition, examination, exploration, fishing expedition*, grilling, hearing, inquest, inquisition, inspection, interrogation, interrogatory,… …   New thesaurus

  • inquiry — [in′kwər ē, in kwīr′ē, in′kwīr΄ē] n. pl. inquiries [earlier enquery < ME enquere] 1. the act of inquiring 2. an investigation or examination 3. a question; query …   English World dictionary

  • Inquiry — For other uses, see Public inquiry and Enquiry character. An inquiry is any process that has the aim of augmenting knowledge, resolving doubt, or solving a problem. A theory of inquiry is an account of the various types of inquiry and a treatment …   Wikipedia

  • Inquiry — (Roget s Thesaurus) >Subject of Inquiry. Question. < N PARAG:Inquiry >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 inquiry inquiry Sgm: N 1 request request &c. 765 Sgm: N 1 search search research quest pursuit &c. 622 GRP: N 2 …   English dictionary for students

  • inquiry — Used in the context of general equities. in line expression of interest in a particular stock, usually asking the firm to bid for or offer stock. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * * inquiry in‧quir‧y [ɪnˈkwaɪəri ǁ ɪnˈkwaɪri, ˈɪŋkwəri] noun… …   Financial and business terms

  • inquiry — in|quir|y W3 enquiry [ınˈkwaıəri US ınˈkwaıri, ˈıŋkwəri] n plural inquiries 1.) a question you ask in order to get information inquiry about ▪ We re getting a lot of inquiries about our new London Rio service. inquiry from ▪ inquiries from… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • inquiry */*/*/ — UK [ɪnˈkwaɪərɪ] / US [ɪnˈkwaɪrɪ] / US [ˈɪŋkwərɪ] noun Word forms inquiry : singular inquiry plural inquiries [countable] a question intended to get information about someone or something There have already been over 300 inquiries from people… …   English dictionary


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