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From Middle French consulter, from Latin cōnsultō (to deliberate, consult), frequentative of cōnsulō (to consult, deliberate, consider, reflect upon, ask advice), from com- (together) + -sulō, from Proto-Indo-European *selh₁- (to take, grab).




consult (plural consults)

  1. (US, countable) A visit to consult somebody, such as a doctor; a consultation.
    Synonym: consultation
  2. (obsolete) The act of consulting or deliberating; consultation
  3. (obsolete) the result of consultation; determination; decision.
  4. (obsolete) A council; a meeting for consultation.
    • 1730, Jonathan Swift, chapter 5, in Death and Daphne:
      a consult of coquettes
  5. (obsolete) Agreement; concert.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (visit to consult somebody): The noun consult is avoided in British English, where consultation is preferred. In American English, 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.
    • c. 1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene iii]:
      Let us consult upon to-morrow's business.
    • 1661 (written), published in 1681, Thomas Hobbes, A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England
      All the laws of England have been made by the kings of England, consulting with the nobility and commons.
    • 1889 January 11 [1888 December 21], Kung Taotai, “North Honan Road.”, in M. F. A. Fraser, transl., North-China Herald and Supreme Court & Consular Gazette[1], volume XLII, number 1119, Shanghai, →OCLC, page 37, column 1:
      SIR,—I have the honour to refer to your letter requesting me to desire Mr. Y. Ching-chong to come and consult with the Municipal Council, as Mr. Wood, the Chairman of that Body had informed you at a personal interview that they fully concurred in the desirability of co-operation with Mr. Ching-chong in improvements in the Honan road draining and lighting.
  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.
    Coordinate term: look up
    • 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.
    • 1837, William Whewell, History of the Inductive Sciences:
      Men forgot, or feared, to consult nature, to seek for new truths, to do what the great discoverers of other times had done; they were content to consult libraries.
  6. (transitive) To have reference to, in judging or acting; to have regard to; to consider; as, to consult one's wishes.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To deliberate upon; to take for.
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To bring about by counsel or contrivance; to devise; to contrive.

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Borrowed from Latin consultum.


consult n (plural consulturi)

  1. consultation