noun, plural au·tos-da-fé.

the public declaration of the judgment passed on persons tried in the courts of the the Spanish Inquisition, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed, especially the burning of condemned heretics at the stake.

Nearby words

  1. auto court,
  2. auto lift,
  3. auto racing,
  4. auto-,
  5. auto-da-fe,
  6. auto-destruct,
  7. auto-dial,
  8. auto-dialer,
  9. auto-erotic,
  10. auto-repeat

Origin of auto-da-fé

1715–25; < Portuguese: act of the faith Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for auto-da-fe

British Dictionary definitions for auto-da-fe


noun plural autos-da-fé

history a ceremony of the Spanish Inquisition including the pronouncement and execution of sentences passed on sinners or heretics
the burning to death of people condemned as heretics by the Inquisition

Word Origin for auto-da-fé

C18: from Portuguese, literally: act of the faith

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

Word Origin and History for auto-da-fe



1723, "sentence passed by the Inquisition" (plural autos-da-fé), from Portuguese auto-da-fé "judicial sentence or act of the faith," especially the public burning of a heretic, from Latin actus de fide, literally "act of faith." Although the Spanish Inquisition is better-known today, there also was one in Portugal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper