auto da fé

auto-da-fé

[aw-toh-duh-fey]
noun, plural autos-da-fé.
the public declaration of the judgment passed on persons tried in the courts of the the Spanish Inquisition, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed, especially the burning of condemned heretics at the stake.

Origin:
1715–25; < Portuguese: act of the faith

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World English Dictionary
auto-da-fé (ˌɔːtəʊdəˈfeɪ)
 
n , pl autos-da-fé
1.  history a ceremony of the Spanish Inquisition including the pronouncement and execution of sentences passed on sinners or heretics
2.  the burning to death of people condemned as heretics by the Inquisition
 
[C18: from Portuguese, literally: act of the faith]

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Word Origin & History

auto-da-fé
1723, "sentence passed by the Inquisition" (pl. autos-da-fé), from Port., "judicial sentence or act of the faith," especially the public burning of a heretic, from L. actus de fide, lit. "act of faith." Although the Spanish Inquisition is better-known today, there also was one in Portugal.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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