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See also: Query


Alternative forms[edit]


An anglicisation of quere, an obsolete variant form of Latin quaere, second-person singular present active imperative of quaerō (seek, look for; ask). Cognate with French quérir, Italian chiedere, Portuguese querer, Romanian cere, and Spanish querer. Compare question.



query (plural queries)

  1. A question, an inquiry (US), an enquiry (UK).
    The teacher answered the student’s query concerning biosynthesis.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, “The Gateway, and Some Who Passed”, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC, page 29:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, of errand not wholly obvious to their fellows, yet of such sort as to call into query alike the nature of their errand and their own relations.
  2. A question mark.
    • 1886, Skeat, Address of the President to the Philological Society, Great Britain:
      His Glossary has ‘bouchen, to stop people's mouths,’; but this is followed by a query, to show that it was but a guess. I have shown, from the MSS. and other sources, that it should be bonched, i.e. bunched, bumped, knocked, smote.
    • 1973, Oliver Sacks, Awakenings:
      She had written in her diary: "I don't think I am in a concentration-camp??????", the queries growing larger and more numerous till they covered the entire page []
    • 2006, Pip, “Re: Royal Enfield motorbike - why would anyone buy one?”, in rec.motorcycles (Usenet):
      I refer you to your line above, where you use a query and a bang together.
  3. (computing, databases) A set of instructions passed to a database.
    The database admin switched on query logging for debugging purposes.
  4. (publishing) Short for query letter.
    • 2006, Michael Larsen, How to Get a Literary Agent[1], Sourcebooks Inc., page 46:
      Although many agents accept email queries, check to see if they prefer mailed query letters.


Derived terms[edit]




query (third-person singular simple present queries, present participle querying, simple past and past participle queried)

  1. (intransitive) To ask a question.
  2. (transitive) To ask, inquire.
    • 1997 August 16, PRINCESSPK, “Re: Opinions wanted for magazine article”, in alt.showbiz.gossip[2] (Usenet):
      I tried that once in an AOL thing called "The Arena", I can't remember who the celebrity was, but I posed some divinely thoughtful, inspired, well-crafted question, and they chose one, instead, that querried her favourite colour, quelle banel.
  3. (transitive) To question or call into doubt.
  4. (computing, databases) To pass a set of instructions to a database to retrieve information from it.
    • 1999, Luciano Floridi, Philosophy and computing: an introduction, page 104:
      Linked tables can be accessed, queried, combined and reorganised much more flexibly and in a number of ways that may not be immediately predictable when the database is under construction.
  5. (transitive, Internet) To send a private message to (a user on IRC).
    • 2000, Phantom, “Re: Uhm.. hi... I guess...”, in alt.support.boy-lovers (Usenet):
      He parted the channel saying "SHUTUP!"... so I queried him, asking if there was something I could do.. maybe talk...
    • 2000, Robert Erdec, “Re: Help; mIRC32; unable to resolve server arnes.si”, in alt.irc.mirc (Usenet):
      if you know someone who is in the channel, you can query them and ask for the key.
  6. (intransitive, publishing) To send out a query letter.


Related terms[edit]