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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle French consulter, from Latin consultare (to deliberate, consult), frequentative of consulere (to consult, deliberate, consider, reflect upon, ask advice), from com- (together) + -sulere, of uncertain origin.




consult (plural consults)

  1. (obsolete) The act of consulting or deliberating; consultation
  2. (obsolete) the result of consultation; determination; decision.
    The council broke; And all grave consults dissolved in smoke. (Can we date this quote by John Dryden?)
  3. (obsolete) A council; a meeting for consultation.
    • 1730, Jonathan Swift, Death and Daphne, Chapter 5
      A consult of coquettes.
  4. (obsolete) Agreement; concert.
  5. (US) A visit, e.g. to a doctor; a consultation.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The noun consult is avoided in British English, favoring consultation instead. In AmE, they are merely synonyms.



consult (third-person singular simple present consults, present participle consulting, simple past and past participle consulted)

  1. (intransitive) To seek the opinion or advice of another; to take counsel; to deliberate together; to confer.
    Let us consult upon to-morrow's business. -William Shakespeare
    All the laws of England have been made by the kings of England, consulting with the nobility and commons. - Thomas Hobbes.
  2. (intransitive) To advise or offer expertise.
  3. (intransitive) To work as a consultant or contractor rather than as a full-time employee of a firm.
  4. (transitive) To ask advice of; to seek the opinion of (a person)
    • 1899, John Cotton Dana, chapter 1, in A Library Primer:
      If you have no library commission, consult a lawyer and get from him a careful statement of what can be done under present statutory regulations.
  5. (transitive) To refer to (something) for information
    • 1904, Guy Wetmore Carryl, chapter 3, in Far from the Maddening Girls:
      Which reminds me that I have never remembered from that hour to consult the dictionary upon a selvage.
    Men forgot, or feared, to consult ... ; they were content to consult libraries. - William Whewell.
  6. (transitive) To have reference to, in judging or acting; to have regard to; to consider; as, to consult one's wishes.
    We are ... to consult the necessities of life, rather than matters of ornament and delight. -L'Estrange.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To deliberate upon; to take for.
    Many things were there consulted for the future, yet nothing was positively resolved. -Edward Hyde Clarendon.
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To bring about by counsel or contrivance; to devise; to contrive.
    Thou hast consulted shame to thy use by cutting off many people. - Bible, Heb. ii. 10.


Related terms[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for consult in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Further reading[edit]