inquisition

[ in-kwuh-zish-uhn, ing- ]
/ ˌɪn kwəˈzɪʃ ən, ˌɪŋ- /

noun

Origin of inquisition

1350–1400; Middle English inquisicio(u)n < Latin inquīsītiōn- (stem of inquīsītiō), equivalent to inquīsīt(us) past participle of inquīrere to inquire + -iōn- -ion
Related formsin·qui·si·tion·al, adjectivepre·in·qui·si·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inquisition

British Dictionary definitions for inquisition (1 of 2)

inquisition

/ (ˌɪnkwɪˈzɪʃən) /

noun

the act of inquiring deeply or searchingly; investigation
a deep or searching inquiry, esp a ruthless official investigation of individuals in order to suppress revolt or root out the unorthodox
an official inquiry, esp one held by a jury before an officer of the Crown
another word for inquest (def. 2)
Derived Formsinquisitional, adjectiveinquisitionist, noun

Word Origin for inquisition

C14: from legal Latin inquīsītiō, from inquīrere to seek for; see inquire

British Dictionary definitions for inquisition (2 of 2)

Inquisition

/ (ˌɪnkwɪˈzɪʃən) /

noun

history a judicial institution of the Roman Catholic Church (1232–1820) founded to discover and suppress heresySee also Spanish Inquisition
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 inquisition

inquisition


n.

late 14c., "judicial investigation, act or process of inquiring," from Old French inquisicion "inquiry, investigation" (12c.), from Latin inquisitionem (nominative inquisitio) "a searching into, legal examination," noun of action from past participle stem of inquirere (see inquire).

In Church history, inquisitors were appointed from 382 C.E. to root out heretics, and the Inquisition refers to the ecclesiastical court (Congregation of the Holy Office) appointed 13c. by Innocent III to suppress heresy. It never operated in Britain. The capital letter form appeared in English only after c.1500, and usually refers to the office's reorganization 1478-1483 in Spain as what is commonly called the Spanish Inquisition.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for inquisition

Inquisition


A court established by the Roman Catholic Church in the thirteenth century to try cases of heresy and other offenses against the church. Those convicted could be handed over to the civil authorities for punishment, including execution.

Note

The Inquisition was most active in Spain, especially under Tomás de Torquemada (see also Torquemada); its officials sometimes gained confessions through torture. It did not cease operation in the Spanish Empire until the nineteenth century.

Note

By association, a harsh or unjust trial or interrogation may be called an “inquisition.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.