verb (used with object)

  1. to seek for (something) by entreaty, earnest or respectful request, formal application, etc.: He solicited aid from the minister.
  2. to entreat or petition (someone or some agency): to solicit the committee for funds.
  3. to seek to influence or incite to action, especially unlawful or wrong action.
  4. to offer to have sex with in exchange for money.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make a petition or request, as for something desired.
  2. to solicit orders or trade, as for a business: No soliciting allowed in this building.
  3. to offer to have sex with someone in exchange for money.

verb -its, -iting or -ited

  1. (when intr, foll by for) to make a request, application, or entreaty to (a person for business, support, etc)
  2. to accost (a person) with an offer of sexual relations in return for money
  3. to provoke or incite (a person) to do something wrong or illegal

early 15c., “to disturb, trouble,” from Middle French soliciter (14c.), from Latin sollicitare “to disturb, rouse, trouble, harass; stimulate, provoke,” from sollicitus “agitated,” from sollus “whole, entire” + citus “aroused,” past participle of ciere “shake, excite, set in motion” (see cite). Related: Solicited; soliciting.

Meaning “entreat, petition” is from 1520s. Meaning “to further (business affairs)” evolved mid-15c. from Middle French sense of “manage affairs.” The sexual sense (often in reference to prostitutes) is attested from 1710, probably from a merger of the business sense and an earlier sense of “to court or beg the favor of” (a woman), attested from 1590s.

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