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

Synonyms for inquest Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inquest

Contemporary Examples of inquest

Historical Examples of inquest

  • 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.

  • 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 for inquest

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

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

inquest in Medicine




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