Meaning of QUESTION in English

I. ques ‧ tion 1 S1 W1 /ˈkwestʃ ə n/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ question , questioning, ↑ questioner , ↑ questionnaire ; adjective : ↑ questionable ≠ ↑ unquestionable , ↑ questioning ≠ ↑ unquestioning , ↑ unquestioned ; adverb : ↑ unquestionably , ↑ questioningly ≠ ↑ unquestioningly ; verb : ↑ question ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin quaestio , from quaestus , past participle of quaerere 'to ask' ]

1 . ASKING FOR INFORMATION [countable] a sentence or phrase that is used to ask for information or to test someone’s knowledge OPP answer :

Can I ask you a question?

I’m afraid I can’t answer that question.

question about/on

They asked me quite a lot of difficult questions about my job.

The survey included questions on age and smoking habits.

in answer to sb’s question

In answer to your last question, ‘Yes’.

2 . SUBJECT/PROBLEM [countable] a subject or problem that needs to be discussed or dealt with SYN issue

question of

We discussed the question of confidentiality.

This raises the question of government funding.

an urgent need to address the question of crime

Several questions have still not been resolved.

The question is should I take the job in Japan, or should I stay here?

Some important questions remain unanswered (=still have not been dealt with or explained) .

3 . DOUBT [uncountable and countable] if there is some question about something, there is doubt about it, or people feel uncertain about it:

The exact cause of death is still open to question (=not certain) .

call/bring/throw something into question (=make people doubt something)

This has called into question people’s right to retire at 60.

He’s by far the best candidate, there’s no question about it (=it is completely certain) .

There is no question that (=it is completely certain that) the government knew about the deal.

beyond question (=completely certain or definite)

Her efficiency and intelligence are beyond question.

questions about/over something

There are questions about the system’s practicality.

4 . without question

a) used to emphasize that what you are saying is true or correct:

Marilyn was, without question, a very beautiful woman.

b) if you accept or obey something without question, you do it without expressing any doubt about whether it is correct or necessary:

Clara accepted his decision without question.

5 . there is no question of something happening/somebody doing something used to say that there is no possibility of something happening:

There is no question of the project being postponed.

6 . in question

a) the things, people etc in question are the ones that are being discussed:

Where were you during the evening in question?

b) if something is in question, there is doubt about it:

I’m afraid his honesty is now in question.

7 . be a question of something used to say what the most important fact, part, or feature of something is:

Dance is a question of control and creative expression.

I would love to come, but it’s a question of time.

8 . it’s just/only/simply a question of doing something spoken used to say that what needs doing is easy or not complicated:

It’s just a question of putting in a couple of screws.

9 . be out of the question if something is out of the question, it is definitely not possible or not allowed:

You can’t go in that old shirt – it’s out of the question.

10 . (that’s a) good question! spoken used to admit that you do not know the answer to a question:

‘How can we afford this?’ ‘Good question!’

11 . pop the question informal to ask someone to marry you – used humorously

⇨ leading question at ↑ leading 1 (4), ⇨ rhetorical question at ↑ rhetorical (1), ⇨ beg the question at ↑ beg (6)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ ask (somebody) a question

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

▪ have a question (=want to ask a question)

I just have one question: is the treatment effective?

▪ pose a question formal (=ask a question)

He poses the question, ‘What should we teach our children?’

▪ put a question to somebody (=ask a question in a formal situation)

I recently put some of these questions to a psychologist.

▪ answer a question

You haven’t answered my question.

▪ avoid/evade/dodge a question (=not give a direct answer)

He had skilfully evaded Margie’s questions.

▪ set a question (=invent a question for a test)

He used to set the questions for a TV quiz show.

▪ rephrase a question (=ask it in a different way)

He didn’t answer, so I rephrased my question.

▪ bombard somebody with questions (=ask someone a lot of questions)

They bombarded him with questions about the case.

▪ field questions (=answer a lot of questions)

He fielded questions from reporters about the announcement.

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + question

▪ difficult/hard

Some of the questions in the last section were very difficult.

▪ easy

These questions should be easy for you.

▪ a good question (=interesting or difficult to answer)

That’s a good question.

▪ a stupid/silly question (=one whose answer is obvious)

Did you win, or is that a stupid question?

▪ an awkward question (=one that someone does not want to answer)

How can we keep the press from asking awkward questions?

▪ a tricky/tough question (=one that is difficult to answer)

That’s a really tricky question.

▪ an embarrassing question

The media began to ask embarrassing questions about MPs' expenses.

▪ a personal question (=a question relating to someone’s private life)

Can I ask you a personal question?

▪ a simple question (=one that is easy to answer)

All you have to do is answer the three simple questions below.

▪ a searching/probing question (=one designed to find things out)

The immigration officer asked me some searching questions.

▪ a direct question (=one that asks for information in a very direct way)

She was startled by the direct question.

▪ an exam/a test question

You have to answer twenty exam questions.

▪ an impertinent question (=one which you have no right to ask)

She did not answer the maid’s impertinent question.

▪ a rhetorical question (=a question you ask without expecting an answer, in order to make a point)

▪ a multiple choice question (=where you are given a set of possible answers)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ raise a question (=bring it to people’s attention)

This study raises several important questions.

▪ address a question (=start trying to deal with it)

Two questions need to be addressed.

▪ discuss a question

They discussed the question of the possible use of the atomic bomb.

▪ consider a question

We must also consider the question of compensation.

▪ deal with a question

This question will be dealt with in Chapter 4.

▪ tackle a question (=try to deal with a difficult question )

Who has the ability to tackle the tough questions facing the nation?

▪ resolve a question (=deal with it in a satisfactory way)

We will proceed just as soon as we can resolve the question of the fee.

■ adjectives

▪ an important/big question

The book raises important questions about nationality and the role of a citizen.

▪ a fundamental question

Their experiences have highlighted fundamental questions of human rights.

▪ serious questions

The incident has raised serious questions about police conduct.

▪ a vexed/thorny question (=one that is hard to deal with)

Finally, there’s the thorny question of money.

▪ a burning question (=an important one that needs dealing with)

Little progress was made on the burning question of Africa’s debt.

▪ a moral/ethical question (=one relating to principles of what is right and wrong)

This area of medical research poses serious ethical questions that doctors alone cannot answer.

▪ unanswered/open (=not dealt with)

At this point a key question remains unanswered.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ phrases

▪ be open to question (=not be certain or definitely true)

Whether he will survive politically is open to question.

▪ be beyond question (=be definite)

Her loyalty is beyond question.

▪ call/bring/throw something into question (=make people doubt it)

He brought into question all the principles on which the Soviet system was based.

▪ come into question (=start to be doubted)

The special protection given to these animals has come into question in recent years.

▪ there’s no question (=it is certain)

There’s no question that they have done an outstanding job.

• • •


▪ question something that you ask someone, either when speaking or when writing:

Would anyone like to ask any questions?


I’ve emailed the hotel with one or two questions.

▪ query /ˈkwɪəri $ ˈkwɪri/ especially British English a question that you ask when you are not sure you have understood something or that the information you have is correct:

If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent.


Our staff are always available to answer customers’ queries.

▪ inquiry ( also enquiry especially British English ) /ɪnˈkwaɪəri $ ɪnˈkwaɪri, ˈɪŋkwəri/ a question you ask in order to get information or find out the details about something:

We’ve advertised the house, and we’ve already received lots of enquiries.


The police have been making some inquiries in the area.

▪ request a polite or formal question asking for something that you want or need:

The bank said ‘no’ to our request for more money.


You must make your request in writing.

II. question 2 S2 W3 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ question , questioning, ↑ questioner , ↑ questionnaire ; adjective : ↑ questionable ≠ ↑ unquestionable , ↑ questioning ≠ ↑ unquestioning , ↑ unquestioned ; adverb : ↑ unquestionably , ↑ questioningly ≠ ↑ unquestioningly ; verb : ↑ question ]

1 . to ask someone questions in order to get information about something such as a crime ⇨ interrogate :

Two men have been arrested and questioned.

question somebody about something

She hates being questioned about her past.

Joseph questioned the doctors closely (=asked them a lot of questions) .

2 . to have or express doubts about whether something is true, good, necessary etc

question what/how/when etc

Are you questioning what I’m saying?

No one dared to question his decisions.

question whether

One questions whether he’s telling the truth.

• • •


▪ question to ask someone questions in order to get information about something such as a crime:

The police questioned him for three hours before releasing him without charge.


When questioned by reporters, he denied all knowledge about the affair.

▪ interrogate to keep asking a lot of questions for a long time, sometimes using threats, in order to get information:

He was interrogated by US agents about his alleged links to al-Qaeda.

▪ interview to ask someone questions for a newspaper, TV programme etc, or to ask someone questions to find out if they are suitable for a job, course etc:

Did you hear him being interviewed on ‘the Today Programme’?


The woman who interviewed me offered me the job.

▪ grill informal to ask someone a lot of difficult questions about something, in a way that is tiring or annoying:

She started grilling me about why I was so late coming home.

▪ cross-examine to ask someone a series of questions in court about their previous statements, in order to find out whether they have been telling the truth:

The defence lawyer cross-examined the witness in order to test his evidence.

▪ be helping police with their inquiries British English to be questioned by the police about a crime – used especially in news reports when the police think that this person may be guilty of the crime:

Last night, a 21-year-old woman was helping police with their inquiries.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.