Apparently the word quaeso, to ask, has no perfect tenses. Why is this?

It would seem that quaeso is related to quaero, which does have perfect tenses. So for example, quaesiit, he demanded.

So is quaeso just sort of an alternate spelling of quaero, or is it different?

  • 1
    The Lewis-Short dictionary classifies quaeso as an old form of quaero and lists perfect and supine like for the “modern” form (I guess rhotacism had a role here).
    – egreg
    Sep 18, 2021 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


It does.

For example, from Plautus's Cistellaria:

P: Quoi illam dedisset exquisisse oportuit.
P: You should've asked who he'd given her to.
L: Quaesivi, et dixit meretrici Melaenidi.
L: I did ask, and he said, to Melaenis the prostitute.
M: Meum elocutu'st nomen, interii <oppido>.
M: My name's been said. I'm totally fucked.

Or from Cicero's Pro Publio Quinctio:

Quaesivit a te, statim ut Romam rediit, Quinctius, quo die vadimonium istuc factum esse diceres. Respondisti statim: Nonis Febr.
Immediately upon returning to Rome, Quinctius asked you to tell him on which day he was given bail to appear. You answered immediately: the Nones of February.

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