Definition of enquire verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


verb (especially British English) (also inquire North American English, British English)
; ɪnˈkwaɪər
[intransitive, transitive] (rather formal) to ask somebody for some informationenquire (about somebody/something) I called the station to enquire about train times.enquire (as to somebody/something) She enquired as to your whereabouts.enquire why, where, etc… Might I enquire why you have not mentioned this until now?enquire something He enquired her name.+ speech ‘What is your name?’ he enquired.
In British English people sometimes distinguish between enquire and inquire, using enquire for the general meaning of ‘ask for information’ and inquire for the more particular meaning of ‘officially investigate’
I called to enquire about train times.
A committee will inquire into the allegations.
However, you can use either spelling in either meaning. In American English inquire is usually used in both meanings.
Phrasal verbs

enquire after somebody

(formal) to ask for information about somebody, especially about their health or about what they are doing

enquire into something

to find out more information about something
A committee was appointed to enquire into the allegations.

enquire something of somebody

(formal) to ask somebody something(+ speech) ‘Will you be staying for lunch?’ she enquired of Charles.
Usage noteUsage note: askenquire demandThese words all mean to say or write something in the form of a question, in order to get information.ask to say or write something in the form of a question, in order to get information:‘Where are you going?’ she asked. She asked the students their names. Can I ask a question?enquire/inquire (rather formal) to ask somebody for information:I called the station to enquire about train times.demand to ask a question very firmly:‘And where have you been?’ he demanded ask/enquire about/after somebody/somethingto ask/enquire/demand something of somebodyto ask/enquire/demand what/who/how, ask/enquire politelyto ask/enquire/demand angrily