Word of the Day



something that someone asks you when they want information

Origin and usage

In the 13th century, the word question was used to describe a philosophical or theological point of discussion. By the 14th century, it was more broadly used to refer to the more common linguistic convention that prompts discussion or an answer. The Latin ‘quaestionem’, from the verb ‘quaerere’ meaning to seek, examine or investigate, and Anglo-French ‘questium’, meaning doubt or interrogation, are the most likely origins of our word question.


A linguistic expression used as a prompt for information is known as a question. The reply to a question is generally offered in the form of an answer, but there are some nuances in the English language which mean that some questions go beyond a simple request for information. For instance, a rhetorical question follows the recognizable interrogative format but is used to make a point rather than to ask for information, so it does not require an answer.

Specific grammatical rules often indicate a question through the structure of a sentence, but especially in spoken language, the inflection of the delivery can indicate that a question is being asked even if it does not obey the grammatical rules that typically indicate a question. In English, the grammatical convention for asking a question requires reversing the noun and verb parts of the sentence. For instance, ‘You are here’ is a statement where the verb ‘are’ follows the pronoun ‘you’; but the sentence ‘Are you here?’ indicates a question because the pronoun follows the verb.


“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”


“It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”

(Albert Einstein)


query, uncertainty, doubt

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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