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[in-kwest] /ˈɪn kwɛst/
a legal or judicial inquiry, usually before a jury, especially an investigation made by a coroner into the cause of a death.
the body of people appointed to hold such an inquiry, especially a coroner's jury.
the decision or finding based on such inquiry.
an investigation or examination.
Origin of inquest
1250-1300; Middle English < Medieval Latin inquēsta, equivalent to Latin in- in-2 + quaesīta, plural (taken in ML as feminine singular) of quaesītum question (see quest); replacing Middle English enqueste < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin, as above
1. hearing, inquisition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inquest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The twentieth brought a button-hole, and over this the inquest was held.

  • Firstly, to observe that the inquest was not held in that place, but at some distance off.

    The Uncommercial Traveller Charles Dickens
  • Then, after the inquest, I shall give an order that everything in the attic is to be destroyed.

  • An inquest had been held upon his remains some days before, and he had been buried by the parish.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
  • But as to Brigmawl at an inquest, he's about as much good as the Pope of Rome.'

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
British Dictionary definitions for inquest


an inquiry into the cause of an unexplained, sudden, or violent death, or as to whether or not property constitutes treasure trove, held by a coroner, in certain cases with a jury
(informal) any inquiry or investigation
Word Origin
C13: from Medieval Latin inquēsta, from Latin in-² + quaesītus investigation, from quaerere to examine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inquest

late 13c., an-queste "legal or judicial inquiry," from Old French enqueste "inquiry," from Vulgar Latin *inquaestia (cf. Italian inchiesta), from fem. past participle of Vulgar Latin *inquirere "inquire" (see inquire).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inquest in Medicine

inquest in·quest (ĭn'kwěst')

  1. A legal inquiry into the cause of violent or mysterious death.

  2. The finding based on such an inquiry.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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