|1.||the act of inquiring deeply or searchingly; investigation|
|2.||a deep or searching inquiry, esp a ruthless official investigation of individuals in order to suppress revolt or root out the unorthodox|
|3.||an official inquiry, esp one held by a jury before an officer of the Crown|
|4.||another word for inquest|
|[C14: from legal Latin inquīsītiō, from inquīrere to seek for; see |
|history See also Spanish Inquisition a judicial institution of the Roman Catholic Church (1232--1820) founded to discover and suppress heresy|
A court established by the Roman Catholic Church in the thirteenth century to try cases of heresy and other offenses against the church. Those convicted could be handed over to the civil authorities for punishment, including execution.
Note: The Inquisition was most active in Spain, especially under Tomás de Torquemada; its officials sometimes gained confessions through torture. It did not cease operation in the Spanish Empire until the nineteenth century.
Note: By association, a harsh or unjust trial or interrogation may be called an “inquisition.”