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[in-kwest] /ˈɪn kwɛst/
a legal or judicial inquiry, usually before a jury, especially an investigation made by a coroner into the cause of a death.
the body of people appointed to hold such an inquiry, especially a coroner's jury.
the decision or finding based on such inquiry.
an investigation or examination.
Origin of inquest
1250-1300; Middle English < Medieval Latin inquēsta, equivalent to Latin in- in-2 + quaesīta, plural (taken in ML as feminine singular) of quaesītum question (see quest); replacing Middle English enqueste < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin, as above
1. hearing, inquisition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inquest
  • No information will be released on any cases until the inquest is held and investigation is complete.
  • Now, two years later, a jury in an official inquest has reached a damning conclusion.
  • By law, no official inquest could be held without a body.
  • At the inquest, the judge shall preside and the county attorney shall conduct the inquest on behalf of the state.
  • The coroner may adjourn the inquest from time to time as he or she may deem necessary.
British Dictionary definitions for inquest


an inquiry into the cause of an unexplained, sudden, or violent death, or as to whether or not property constitutes treasure trove, held by a coroner, in certain cases with a jury
(informal) any inquiry or investigation
Word Origin
C13: from Medieval Latin inquēsta, from Latin in-² + quaesītus investigation, from quaerere to examine
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
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Word Origin and History for inquest

late 13c., an-queste "legal or judicial inquiry," from Old French enqueste "inquiry," from Vulgar Latin *inquaestia (cf. Italian inchiesta), from fem. past participle of Vulgar Latin *inquirere "inquire" (see inquire).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inquest in Medicine

inquest in·quest (ĭn'kwěst')

  1. A legal inquiry into the cause of violent or mysterious death.

  2. The finding based on such an inquiry.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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