[in-kwiz-i-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-]


of or relating to an inquisitor or inquisition.
exercising the office of an inquisitor.
  1. pertaining to a trial with one person or group inquiring into the facts and acting as both prosecutor and judge.
  2. pertaining to secret criminal prosecutions.
resembling an inquisitor in harshness or intrusiveness.
inquisitive; prying.

Origin of inquisitorial

1755–65; < Medieval Latin inquīsītōri(us) (Latin inquīsītōr-, stem of inquīsītor inquisitor + -ius adj. suffix) + -al1
Related formsin·quis·i·to·ri·al·ly, adverbin·quis·i·to·ri·al·ness, nounun·in·quis·i·to·ri·al, adjectiveun·in·quis·i·to·ri·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inquisitorial

Contemporary Examples of inquisitorial

  • By contrast, the European system is described as "inquisitorial."

    The Daily Beast logo
    Don't Blame the D.A.

    Raymond Bonner

    August 26, 2011

  • So Rangel, bereft of that narrative, chose instead to question the intelligence of a pesky, inquisitorial journalist.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Charlie Rangel Is Toast

    Tunku Varadarajan

    July 23, 2010

Historical Examples of inquisitorial

  • I intend to be inquisitorial, as the committee say they are,--but not impertinently so.

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

  • On the other hand, the officials were inquisitorial and rapacious.

  • This uplifting illusion made him inquisitorial and peremptory.

    The Shadow-Line

    Joseph Conrad

  • Unflinchingly he stands the inquisitorial glance, and for the time Phoebe is foiled.

    The Death Shot

    Mayne Reid

  • The proceeding, too, was inquisitorial, not accusatorial: it required no accusers.

    Not Paul, But Jesus

    Jeremy Bentham

British Dictionary definitions for inquisitorial



of, relating to, or resembling inquisition or an inquisitor
offensively curious; prying
law denoting criminal procedure in which one party is both prosecutor and judge, or in which the trial is held in secretCompare accusatorial (def. 2)
Derived Formsinquisitorially, adverbinquisitorialness, noun
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