from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act of inquiring into a matter; an investigation. See Synonyms at inquiry.
  • n. Law An inquest.
  • n. Law The verdict of a judicial inquiry.
  • n. A tribunal formerly held in the Roman Catholic Church and directed at the suppression of heresy.
  • n. An investigation that violates the privacy or rights of individuals.
  • n. A rigorous, harsh interrogation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an investigation or inquiry into the truth of some matter
  • n. an inquest
  • n. a questioning
  • v. To make inquisition concerning; to inquire into.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of inquiring; inquiry; search; examination; inspection; investigation.
  • n.
  • n. Judicial inquiry; official examination; inquest.
  • n. The finding of a jury, especially such a finding under a writ of inquiry.
  • n. A court or tribunal for the examination and punishment of heretics, fully established by Pope Gregory IX. in 1235. Its operations were chiefly confined to Spain, Portugal, and their dependencies, and a part of Italy.
  • transitive v. To make inquisition concerning; to inquire into.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of inquiring; close search or examination; investigation; inquiry.
  • n. In law: Inquiry by a jury impaneled by the sheriff, a coroner, or a board of commissioners, to ascertain facts necessary for judicial or legal purposes other than the trial of an action.
  • n. The document embodying the result of such inquiry.
  • n. [capitalized] In the Roman Catholic Church, an ecclesiastical court, officially styled the Holy Office, for the suppression of heresy by the detection and punishment of heretics and by other means.
  • To subject to inquisition or inquiry; investigate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a severe interrogation (often violating the rights or privacy of individuals)
  • n. a former tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church (1232-1820) created to discover and suppress heresy


Middle English inquisicioun, from Old French inquisicion, from Latin inquīsītiō, inquīsītiōn-, from inquīsītus, past participle of inquīrere, to inquire; see inquire.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • The Inquisiiiition, let's begin
    The Inquisiiiition, look out sin!
    We're on a miiiiiission...
    To convert the Jews...
    Hey Torquemada, whattaya say?!

    —Mel Brooks, "History of the World, Part 1"

    September 25, 2009

  • "I had endured through watches of the dark
    The abashless inquisition of each star."
    Francis Thompson (1859-1907) The Poppy

    September 25, 2009