Inquiring Minds Want to Know – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Do you have an “inquiring mind?” The chances are that if you walked past a newsstand in the 70s and 80s, you would see a copy of the tabloid paper, “Enquiring Minds.” Over the following decades, people would replace the phrase with the alternative spelling of the word, resulting in “Inquiring minds” as an expression.

This colloquial phrase is suitable for many different formal and informal scenarios, and it’s still a common slang phrase used in modern language.

The current format of “Inquiring minds want to know” replaced the older variant some years ago, with the expression appearing in popular culture like movies and music, such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and the song “Midnight Star” by Weird Al Yankovic.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Meaning

The phrase “inquiring minds want to know” is a common expression asking for more information. The request could be to a friend, work colleague, or authority, like your boss or the government.

When you tell someone that “inquiring minds want to know,” you’re asking them to unveil secret, confidential information or data that’s out of the public view. The idiom also refers to the nature of a curious mind wanting to learn more about certain topics.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Example Usage

There are several ways where you can use the idiom in conversation. Here are a few examples of the use of the phrase.

  • C’mon Kate, tell us about your date last night, inquiring minds want to know.
  • With all due respect Mr. Prime Minister, when will you reveal the budget? – Inquiring minds want to know?
  • I know you promised Damian you wouldn’t tell, but did you do it? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Are you single? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Are their aliens visiting the planet? Inquiring minds want to know.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Origin

The origin of “Inquiring minds want to know” goes back to the 70s and the release of the publication “The National Enquirer” in the United States. This tabloid publication would print sensational stories that caught the public eye. It was one of the first “shock-and-awe” publications to hit the newsstand shelves, but it faded in popularity with the dawning of the internet in the late 90s.

However, the National Enquirer copyrighted “Enquiring minds want to know” in the late 1980s. So, many people reverted to the alternative spelling of “Inquiring.” The phrase’s popularity made its way into popular culture, and there are plenty of people, from celebrities to journalists and podcasters, who use it today.

Phrases Similar to Inquiring Minds Want to Know

There are a few phrases that have a similar meaning to inquiring minds want to know.

  • Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Spill the beans.
  • Take a load off.
  • Tell me what you know.
  • I want the truth.

Phrases Opposite to Inquiring Minds Want to Know

So, what is the opposite of “inquiring minds want to know?” There are few formal reiterations of the slang term, but a few phrases have an opposite meaning.

  • You can’t handle the truth.
  • Remain under lock and key.
  • Keep your mouth shut.
  • Who cares.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Enquiring minds want to know.

Traditionally, the use of “enquire” was to make an informal request or to “ask.” Inquire is a formal request used in investigations. Both words are interchangeable.

Ways People May Say Inquiring Minds Want to Know Incorrectly

People may use this out of context during formal conversations, making them sound like a “conspiracy theorist.”

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Inquiring Minds Want to Know

You can use this phrase when speaking to friends, colleagues or family members in an attempt to get information from them.

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