Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
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.”