Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

inquisition

play
noun in·qui·si·tion \ˌin-kwə-ˈzi-shən, ˌiŋ-\

Simple Definition of inquisition

  • the Inquisition : an organization in the Roman Catholic Church in the past that was responsible for finding and punishing people who did not accept its beliefs and practices

  • : a harsh and unfair investigation or series of questions

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of inquisition

  1. 1 :  the act of inquiring :  examination

  2. 2 :  a judicial or official inquiry or examination usually before a jury; also :  the finding of the jury

  3. 3 a capitalized :  a former Roman Catholic tribunal for the discovery and punishment of heresy b :  an investigation conducted with little regard for individual rights c :  a severe questioning

inquisitional

play \-ˈzi-sh(ə-)nəl\ adjective

Examples of inquisition in a sentence

  1. His political enemies were conducting an inquisition into the details of his personal life.

  2. <there's no need to conduct an inquisition about so trivial a matter>



Did You Know?

While an inquiry can be almost any search for truth, the related word inquisition suggests a long, thorough investigation that involves extensive and harsh questioning. Though the two words originally had about the same meaning, today inquisition tends to remind us of the Spanish Inquisition, an ongoing trial conducted by church-appointed inquisitors that began in the Middle Ages and sought out nonbelievers, Jews, and Muslims, thousands of whom were sentenced to torture and to burning at the stake.

Origin and Etymology of inquisition

Middle English inquisicioun, from Anglo-French inquisition, from Latin inquisition-, inquisitio, from inquirere


First Known Use: 14th century


Law Dictionary

inquisition

play
noun in·qui·si·tion \ˌin-kwə-ˈzi-shən, ˌiŋ-\

Legal Definition of inquisition

  1. 1 :  the act of inquiring or examining

  2. 2 :  a judicial or official inquiry or examination usually before a jury; also :  the finding that results from such an inquiry






Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up inquisition? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

at a gallop

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accommodate accomodate acommodate acommadate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ