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definitions - quest

quest (n.)

1.the act of searching for something"a quest for diamonds"

2.a search for an alternative that meets cognitive criteria"the pursuit of love" "life is more than the pursuance of fame" "a quest for wealth"

quest (v.)

1.express the need or desire for; ask for"She requested an extra bed in her room" "She called for room service"

2.seek alms, as for religious purposes

3.bark with prolonged noises, of dogs

4.search the trail of (game)"The dog went off and quested"

5.make a search (for)"Things that die with their eyes open and questing" "The animal came questing through the forest"

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Merriam Webster

QuestQuest (?), n. [OF. queste, F. quête, fr. L. quaerere, quaesitum, to seek for, to ask. Cf. Query, Question.]
1. The act of seeking, or looking after anything; attempt to find or obtain; search; pursuit; as, to rove in quest of game, of a lost child, of property, etc.

Upon an hard adventure yet in quest. Spenser.

Cease your quest of love. Shak.

There ended was his quest, there ceased his care. Milton.

2. Request; desire; solicitation.

Gad not abroad at every quest and call
Of an untrained hope or passion.

3. Those who make search or inquiry, taken collectively.

The senate hath sent about three several quests to search you out. Shak.

4. Inquest; jury of inquest.

What lawful quest have given their verdict ? Shak.

QuestQuest, v. t. [Cf. OF. quester, F. quêter. See Quest, n.] To search for; to examine. [R.] Sir T. Herbert.

QuestQuest, v. i. To go on a quest; to make a search; to go in pursuit; to beg. [R.]

If his questing had been unsuccessful, he appeased the rage of hunger with some scraps of broken meat. Macaulay.

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definition (more)

definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - quest

see also - quest

quest (n.)

hunt for, seek after, seek for


-196 Palindrome Quest • A Tribe Called Quest • Acorna's Quest • Adventure Quest • Amazing Quest of Doctor Syn • Ape Quest • Astro Talent Quest • Azamara Quest • Bomberman Quest • British Cycle Quest • Cartoon Quest • Chex Quest 2 • Columbus Quest • Conqueror's Quest • Coronado's Quest • Corwin's Quest • Crop circles quest for truth • Crystal Quest • Dallas Quest • Dark Quest • Deltora Quest (anime) • Deltora Quest (series) • Deltora Quest 1 • Deltora Quest 2 • Deltora Quest 3 • Directions (PC Quest album) • Directions (Pc Quest album) • Directions (pc Quest album) • Disney's Magical Quest • Dragon Quest (disambiguation) • Dragon Quest 8 • Dragon Quest DS • Dragon Quest Monsters • Dragon Quest Monsters 1+2 • Dream Quest • Duck Tales - Quest for Gold • Emily's Quest • Endless Quest • Euro Quest • Fight Quest • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest • Flimbo's Quest • Forbidden Quest • Galaxy Quest • Gargoyle's Quest • Gargoyle's Quest II • Goblins Quest 3 • Hero's Quest • High Quest • How the Quest Was Won • Jedi Quest • Jedi Quest (comic) • Jewel Quest • Joe Quest • Jonny Quest • Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects • Jonny's Golden Quest • King's Quest • King's Quest V - The Text Adventure • King's quest VI • King's quest vi • Laser Quest • Lexus Song Quest • Like It like That (A Tribe Called Quest song) • List of Deltora Quest characters • List of Quest for Glory characters • List of programs broadcast by Cartoon Quest • Logic Quest 3D • Maddigan's Quest • Master Quest • Miss Asia-Pacific Quest • Mountain Quest Institute • Nano Quest • Nissan Quest • Oh My God (A Tribe Called Quest song) • Operation Green Quest • Oryx Quest • Pc Quest (album) • Phantom Quest Corp. • Police Quest • Power Quest (video game) • Progress Quest • Quest (cigarette) • Quest (gaming) • Quest Academy • Quest Aerospace • Quest Airlock • Quest Atlantis • Quest Beat • Quest Broadcasting Inc. • Quest Channel • Quest Cliffs • Quest Community Newspapers • Quest Conference • Quest Corporation • Quest Development • Quest Diagnostics Incorporated • Quest Diagnostics, Inc. • Quest For Love (1971 film) • Quest High School • Quest International • Quest Nunatak • Quest Racing • Quest Software • Quest USA, Da Tiao Zhan • Quest University Canada • Quest class Oceanographic Research Ship • Quest for Bush • Quest for Fame • Quest for Fame (horse) • Quest for Fire • Quest for Fire (film) • Quest for Glory • Quest for Glory I • Quest for King Arthur • Quest for Love • Quest for Magic • Quest for the Grail • Quest for the Well of Souls • Quest for the White Witch • Quest of Erebor • Quest of Persia • Quest of the Ancients • Quest of the Delta Knights • Quest of the Dream Warrior • Quest of the Skeleton Warrior • Rainbow Quest • Random Quest • Rasāru Ishii no Childs Quest • Revised Quest for the Seasoned Traveller • Scroll Quest • Scrooge's Quest • Sea Quest • Shapeshifter's Quest • Simon's Quest • Slime (Dragon Quest) • Solar Quest • Solar Quest (artist) • Solar Quest (disambiguation) • Song Quest • Space Quest • Space Quest Casino • Space quest (disambiguation) • Spanky's Quest • Star Circle Quest • Star Quest • Starman's Quest • Survival Quest • Survivor's Quest • Sword Quest • Talent Quest • Tarzan's Quest • Team Quest • Teela's Quest • Thayer's Quest • The 20 Cent Quest • The Amazon Temple Quest • The Anthology (A Tribe Called Quest album) • The Emperor's Quest • The Eternal Quest • The Genesis Quest • The Grail Quest (novel series) • The Infinite Quest • The King's Quest Companion • The New Adventures of Jonny Quest • The Quest (Stargate SG-1) • The Quest (film) • The Quest (video game) • The Quest for Cush • The Quest for Kalevala • The Quest for Power • The Quest for Saint Aquin • The Quest for Saint Camber • The Quest for Thelda • The Quest for the Historical Muhammad (Ibn Warraq) • The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture • The Quest of Erebor • The Quest of Iranon • The Quest of Ki • The Quest of the Historical Muhammad • The Quest of the Historical Muhammad (Jeffery) • The Quest of the Historical Muhammad (Peters) • The Quest of the Missing Map • The Thanos Quest • The dallas quest • Titan Quest • Tom Quest • Treasure Quest (game) • Tribe Called Quest • USS Quest • Vader's Quest • Viking Quest • Virtua Quest • Vision Quest • Vision Quest (novel) • Vision Quest Records • Wren's Quest • Zoo Quest

analogical dictionary


MESH root[Thème]

quest [MeSH]

quest; search[ClasseHyper.]

quest (n.) [literary]



quest (v.)



  "Soria Moria" by Theodor Kittelsen: a hero glimpses the end of his quest.
This article discusses significance-laden journeys. For other meanings see Quest (disambiguation)

In mythology and literature, a quest, a journey towards a goal, serves as a plot device and (frequently) as a symbol. Quests appear in the folklore of every nation[1] and also figure prominently in non-national cultures. In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel. The aspect of travel also allows the storyteller to showcase exotic locations and cultures (an objective of the narrator, not of the character).[2]


  Quest objects

  A Knight at the Crossroads by Viktor Vasnetsov

The hero normally aims to obtain something or someone by the quest, and with this object to return home.[3] The object can be something new, that fulfills a lack in his life, or something that was stolen away from him or someone with authority to dispatch him.[4]

Sometimes the hero has no desire to return. Sir Galahad's quest for the Holy Grail is to find it, not return with it. A return may, indeed, be impossible: Aeneas quests for a homeland, having lost Troy at the beginning of Virgil's Aeneid, and he does not return to Troy to re-found it but settles in Italy (to become an ancestor of the Romans).

If the hero does return after the culmination of the quest, he may face false heroes who attempt to pass themselves off as him,[5] or his initial response may be a rejection of that return, as Joseph Campbell describes in his critical analysis of quest literature, The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

If someone dispatches the hero on a quest, the overt reason may be false, with the dispatcher actually sending him on the difficult quest in hopes of his death in the attempt, or in order to remove him from the scene for a time, just as if the claim were sincere, except that the tale usually ends with the dispatcher being unmasked and punished.[6] Stories with such false quest-objects include the legends of Jason and Perseus, the fairy tales The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird, Go I Know Not Whither and Fetch I Know Not What, and the story of Beren and Lúthien in J. R. R. Tolkien's Silmarillion.

The quest object may, indeed, function only as a convenient reason for the hero's journey. Such objects are termed MacGuffins. When a hero is on a quest for several objects that are only a convenient reason for his journey, they are termed plot coupons.

  Literary analysis

The quest, in the form of the Hero's Journey, plays a central roles in the Monomyth described by Joseph Campbell; the hero sets forth from the world of common day into a land of adventures, tests, and magical rewards. Most times in a quest, the knight in shining armor wins the heart of a beautiful maiden/ princess.

  Historical examples

An early quest story tells the tale of Gilgamesh, who seeks a secret to eternal life after the death of Enkidu, including the search for an emerald.

Another ancient quest tale, Homer's Odyssey, tells of Odysseus, whom the gods have cursed to wander and suffer for many years before Athena persuades the Olympians to allow him to return home. Recovering the Golden Fleece is the object of the travels of Jason and the Argonauts in the Argonautica. Psyche, having lost Cupid, hunted through the world for him, and was set tasks by Venus, including a descent into the underworld.

Many fairy tales depict the hero or heroine setting out on a quest, such as:

Other characters may set out with no more definite aim that to "seek their fortune", or even be cast out instead of voluntarily leaving, but learn of something that could aid them along the way and so have their journey transformed from aimless wandering into a quest.[7] Other characters can also set forth on quests — the hero's older brothers commonly do — but the hero is distinguished by his success.

  "Vision of the Holy Grail" (1890) by William Morris

Many medieval romances sent knights out on quests. The term "Knight-errant" sprang from this, as errant meant "roving" or "wandering". Sir Thomas Malory included many in Le Morte d'Arthur. The most famous—perhaps the most famous quest in western literature—centers on the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. This story cycle recounts multiple quests, in multiple variants, telling stories both of the heroes who succeed, like Percival (in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival) or Sir Galahad (in the Queste del Saint Graal), and also the heroes who fail, like Sir Lancelot. This often sent them into a bewildering forest. Despite many references to its pathlessness, the forest repeatedly confronts knights with forks and crossroads, of a labyrinthine complexity.[8] The significiance of their encounters is often explained to the knights—particularly those searching for the Holy Grail -- by hermits acting as wise old men -- or women.[9] Still, despite their perils and chances of error, such forests, being the location where the knight can obtain the end of his quest, are places where the knights may become worthy; one romance has a maiden urging Sir Lancelot on his quest for the Holy Grail, "which quickens with life and greenness like the forest."[10]

So consistently did knights quest that Miguel de Cervantes set his Don Quixote on mock quests in a parody of chivalric tales. Nevertheless, while Don Quixote was a fool, he was and remains a hero of chivalry.

  Modern literature

Quests continued in modern literature. Analysis can interpret many (perhaps most) stories as a quest in which the main character is seeking something that he desires,[11] but the literal structure of a journey seeking something is, itself, still common. Quests often appear in fantasy literature,[12] as in Rasselas by Samuel Johnson, or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion go on a quest for the way back to Kansas, brains, a heart, and courage respectively. [13]

A familiar modern literary quest is Frodo Baggins's quest to destroy the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings.[14] The One Ring, its baleful power, the difficult method which is the only way to destroy it, and the spiritual and psychological torture it wreaks on its Bearer; J. R. R. Tolkien uses all these elements to tell a meaningful tale of friendship and the inner struggle with temptation, against a background of epic and supernatural warfare.

The Catcher in the Rye is often thought of as a quest plot, detailing Holden's search not for a tangible object but for a sense of purpose or reason.

Some writers, however, may devise arbitrary quests for items without any importance beyond being the object of the quest. These items are known as MacGuffins, which is sometimes merely used to compare quests and is not always a derogatory term. Writers may also motivate characters to pursue these objects by meanings of a prophecy that decrees it, rather than have them discover that it could assist them, for reasons that are given.

  See also

  Further reading


  1. ^ Josepha Sherman, Once upon a Galaxy p 142 ISBN 0-87483-387-6
  2. ^ Michael O. Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, p 178-9, ISBN 0-7006-0832-X
  3. ^ W. H. Auden, "The Quest Hero", Understanding the Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism, p35 ISBN 0-618-42253-6
  4. ^ Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folk Tale, p 36, ISBN 0-292-78376-0
  5. ^ Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folk Tale, p60, ISBN 0-292-78376-0
  6. ^ Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folk Tale, p77 ISBN 0-292-78376-0
  7. ^ Maria Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, p63, ISBN 0-691-06722-8
  8. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, p 177, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  9. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, p 179-81, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  10. ^ Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages, p 181, ISBN 0-8014-8000-0
  11. ^ Robert McKee, Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting, p 196-7 ISBN 0-06-039168-5
  12. ^ John Grant and John Clute, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, "Quest ", p 796 ISBN 0-312-19869-8
  13. ^ L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 126-7, ISBN 0-517-50086-8
  14. ^ W. H. Auden, "The Quest Hero", Understanding the Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism, p45 ISBN 0-618-42253-6


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