early 13c., questioun, "philosophical or theological problem" (especially when phrased as an interrogative statement), early 14c. as "utterance meant to elicit an answer or discussion," also as "a difficulty, a doubt," from Anglo-French questiun, Old French question "question, difficulty, problem; legal inquest, interrogation, torture," and directly from Latin quaestionem (nominative quaestio) "a seeking, a questioning, inquiry, examining, judicial investigation," noun of action from past-participle stem of quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)).
Also in Middle English "verbal contention, debate; legal proceedings, litigation, accusation." Phrase a question of meaning "a dispute about" is from early 15c.
No question "undoubtedly" is from mid-15c; no questions asked "accountability not required" is from 1879 (especially in newspaper advertisements seeking the return of something lost or stolen). To be out of the question (c. 1700) is to be not pertinent to the subject, hence "not to be considered." To be in question "under discussion or consideration" is from 1610s.
Question mark is from 1849, sometimes also question stop (1862), earlier interrogation point (1590s). The figurative sense of "something about which there is uncertainty or doubt" is from 1869.
late 15c., questiounen, "to inquire, ask, seek to know," from question (n.) and from Old French questioner "ask questions, interrogate, torture" (13c.), from question (n.). Hence "to dispute, doubt," by 1530s. Transitive sense of "inquire of by asking questions" is from late 15c. Related: Questioned; questioning. Alternative verb questionize is attested from 1847.
updated on March 03, 2021
Dictionary entries near question