Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


A sentence, phrase, or gesture that seeks information through a reply.
a. A subject or point that is under discussion or open to controversy: the question of whether a new school should be built.
b. A matter of concern or difficulty; a problem: This is not a question of too little money.
a. A proposition brought up for consideration by an assembly.
b. The act of bringing a proposal to vote.
4. Law An issue in dispute for the resolution of a court.
5. Uncertainty; doubt: There is no question about the validity of the enterprise. Her integrity is beyond question.
v. ques·tioned, ques·tion·ing, ques·tions
a. To ask a question or questions of (someone).
b. To interrogate (a suspect, for example). See Synonyms at ask.
2. To pose a question or questions regarding (something); analyze or examine: researchers questioning which of the methods will work.
3. To express doubt about; dispute: questioned his sincerity; questioned the expense report.
To ask questions.
in question
Under consideration or discussion.
out of the question
Not worth considering because of being too difficult or impossible: Starting over is out of the question.

[Middle English, from Old French, legal inquiry, from Latin quaestiō, quaestiōn-, from *quaestus, obsolete past participle of quaerere, to ask, seek.]

ques′tion·er n.
ques′tion·ing·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. Answered me as gravely as if I had asked the meaning of life —Borden Deal
  2. Answered slow, like men who wouldn’t waste anything, not even language —Carl Sandburg
  3. Answered with the finality of a bank vault door —Dick Francis
  4. The answer was in front of him … like a gift-wrapped package waiting to be opened —Andrew Kaplan
  5. Asked, like a man who didn’t want to know —James Crumley
  6. Beat back questions like a ball hitting a brick wall —Anon
  7. A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  8. Curiosity … unrolls its question mark like a new wave on the shore —John Ashberry
  9. Deflected answers like a freight train cutting through the Mississippi Delta —Les Payne on William Renquist’s responses to questions about his civil rights background, Newsday, August 3, 1986
  10. Her questions sounded unfelt as though she were speaking from a deep well of hypnosis —Geoffrey Wolff
  11. His answers trickled through my head, like water through a sieve —Lewis Carroll
  12. It was like the question asked by Tennyson about the flowers in the crannied wall —Saul Bellow
  13. One by one, neatly, like index cards out of a machine, the little questions dropped —Roald Dahl
  14. Pursued [a question] like an inquisitor in a torture chamber who was hungry and eager to get the signed statement before his supper —Christopher Isherwood
  15. The question falls … like a bird from the sky —Aharon Megged
  16. The question hangs like music in my thoughts —W. P. Kinsella
  17. The question immediately bursts in the sky like a shower of fireworks —Isaiah Berlin, June, 1980
  18. Question [directly] … like a gun —Lael Tucker Wertenbaker
  19. Questions bobbed in her mind like corks on a turbulent sea —Paige Mitchell
  20. Questions like ordered bricks —Mary Hedin
  21. Questions like water gushed ceaselessly —Dame Edith Sitwell
  22. Unpleasant and unanswerable questions flopping around in his head like a bat that had mistakenly flown in through the living room window —Laurie Colwin
  23. Was like a psychiatrist, asking questions which really were not those questions at all, but deeper ones —Elizabeth Taylor
  24. Worried her questions like a dog does a bone —Donald MacKenzie
  25. You start a question and it’s like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill, and away the stone goes, starting others —Robert Louis Stevenson
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
This applies even in the apparently simple case of answering questions: if the purpose of the answers is to deceive, their falsehood, not their truth, will be evidence of knowledge.
Camp's opinion given upon this, after certain questions had been asked and answered, differed from Sir Patrick's opinion, as given at Windygates.
Brott said, "of that portion of her life concerning which I have asked no questions, but which somehow, whenever I think of it, fills me with a certain amount of uneasiness.
Why in the world, to worry us so--and take our thoughts off, too, don't you know?-- did you desert us at the very door?" I couldn't meet such questions nor, as they asked them, their false little lovely eyes; yet it was all so exactly what I should have to meet that, as the prospect grew sharp to me, I at last let myself go.
But he had never connected these scientific deductions as to the origin of man as an animal, as to reflex action, biology, and sociology, with those questions as to the meaning of life and death to himself, which had of late been more and more often in his mind.
In that charmed apartment, the most complicated social questions were cast up, got into exact totals, and finally settled - if those concerned could only have been brought to know it.
The questions which have been proposed to it are these--
"Of course it would be a great relief to me to ask you several questions, sir; but I remember your prohibition."
"You have come here to ask questions. Spare yourself, and spare me.
That terrible question "Why?" "Wherefore?" which had come to him amid every occupation, was now replaced, not by another question or by a reply to the former question, but by her image.
And here it seems very proper to consider this question, When shall we say that a city is the same, and when shall we say that it is different?
I was perfectly up in the subject which was the question of the day.

Full browser ?