• WordNet 3.6
    • n inquisition a severe interrogation (often violating the rights or privacy of individuals)
    • n Inquisition a former tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church (1232-1820) created to discover and suppress heresy
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Spanish Inquisition once condemned the entire Netherlands to death for heresy.
    • Inquisition (R. C. Ch) 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.
    • Inquisition (Law) Judicial inquiry; official examination; inquest.
    • Inquisition The act of inquiring; inquiry; search; examination; inspection; investigation. "As I could learn through earnest inquisition .""Let not search and inquisition quail
      To bring again these foolish runaways."
    • Inquisition (Law) The finding of a jury, especially such a finding under a writ of inquiry.
    • v. t Inquisition To make inquisition concerning; to inquire into.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n inquisition The act of inquiring; close search or examination; investigation; inquiry.
    • n inquisition 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. The term is used of a proceeding, or the verdict on a proceeding, taken by a magistrate or administrative officer and a jury to inquire into a matter of fact concerning any special case, as distinguished from the trial by jury in court of a contested issue between parties.
    • n inquisition The document embodying the result of such inquiry.
    • n inquisition [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. Punishment of heretics, even by death, was practised from the fourth century onward, but the Inquisition proper arose in the twelfth century. It was developed in the thirteenth century by Pope Innocent III. and the synod of Toulouse, and extended to France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and other countries. The original inquisitors were the bishops in their own dioceses, with special assistants. On the formal organization of the Inquisition, it was placed in charge of the Dominican order, under a central governing body at Rome called the Congregation of the Holy Office. The Spanish Inquisition was reorganized and put under the control of the state at the end of the fifteenth century, and became especially noted for its severity and the number of its victims, who (as elsewhere) were burned or otherwise punished, according to sentence, by the secular authority. (See auto de fe.) The proceedings of the court were conducted with the utmost secrecy; and the confidential officers employed by it were called familiars. It was at its height in the sixteenth century, and its methods were extended into Portugal, the Netherlands, and the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. The influence of the Inquisition diminished in the eighteenth century. It was suppressed in France in 1772, in Portugal under John VI. (died 1826), and in Spain finally in 1834. The Congregation of the Holy Office still exists as a branch of the papal system, but its chief concern is now with heretical literature.
    • inquisition To subject to inquisition or inquiry; investigate.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Inquisition in-kwi-zish′un an inquiring or searching for: investigation: judicial inquiry: a tribunal in the R.C. Church, called also 'the Holy Office,' for the discovery, repression and punishment of heresy, unbelief, and other offences against religion
    • v.t Inquisition (Milt.) to investigate
    • ***


  • Horace
    “Avoid inquisitive persons, for they are sure to be gossips, their ears are open to hear, but they will not keep what is entrusted to them.”
  • Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
    Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
    “Who originated that most exquisite of inquisitions, the condolence system?”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. inquisitio, : cf. F. inquisition,. See Inquire, and cf. Inquest


In literature:

The events that occur during the period of the Inquisition are harrowing to relate.
"The Choctaw Freedmen" by Robert Elliott Flickinger
Your inquisition now: I may not be So patient always.
"The Works of Lord Byron" by Lord Byron
If you don't instantly produce that Dodo I shall take you before the Court of Inquisitives, and let them deal with you.
"Dick, Marjorie and Fidge" by G. E. Farrow
The Inquisition took shape slowly.+ The Inquisition took shape very gradually through the first half of the thirteenth century.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
For there are fines to pay, and costs of the Inquisition.
"Wizard" by Laurence Mark Janifer (AKA Larry M. Harris)
Then when we return to Cadiz they are all to be handed over to the Holy Inquisition.
"Across the Spanish Main" by Harry Collingwood
Borri, in the mean time, lived quietly in Switzerland, indulging himself in railing at the Inquisition and its proceedings.
"Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay
He waited as long as he could and then bounded to his mother's side with an inquisitive whine.
"The Black Phantom" by Leo Edward Miller
And let me tell you, men, that to fall into the hands of the Spaniards here means being clapt into the Inquisition.
"Two Gallant Sons of Devon" by Harry Collingwood
The inquisitive monkey soon descends to examine the nut, and putting in his hand, grasps the sweet contents.
"The Western World" by W.H.G. Kingston

In poetry:

(largendo con sp.) Now this is the position,
Go make an inquisition
Into their real condition
As swiftly as ye may.
"The Masque of Plenty" by Rudyard Kipling
Inquisition of mountain peaks
Is nothing when the desert speaks
With winds of fury sweeping home
The points debated by the loam.
"Skirmish" by Norman MacLeod
And slipping by the window frame,
A poor old man threw us an inquisitive glance-
The very same old man, of course,
Who had died in Beirut a year ago.
"The Lost Tram" by Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev
Who chattering pauses, half inquisitive,
Half-heedless of some strange vague sentiment
As of some far-off wistful memory;
Who cannot know she did not always live;
"Melbourne Sonnets: XVI. At The Aquarium" by E J Rupert Atkinson
Through the offered bosom of Donna De Vine--
And this is the Count's condition ...
Was he right, was he wrong? the question is mine,
To judge--for the Inquisition.
"At The Corregidor’s" by Madison Julius Cawein
And the wandering one, the inquisitive dreamer of dreams,
The eternal asker of answers, stands in the street,
And lifts his palms for the first cold ghost of rain.
The purple lights leap down the hill before him.
The gorgeous night has begun again.
"The House Of Dust: Part 01: 01: " by Conrad Potter Aiken

In news:

Ixteenth-century Lisbon is a dangerous place, especially for Jews, who are living a half-hidden life on the run from the Spanish Inquisition.
Was only the beginning of the inquisition, spoken with bit of dismay and some reserve by a 30-something acquaintance.
The Influence of the Inquisition.
Cunningham says his mother's lasting impact on him will always be her "optimism, inquisitiveness and tolerance".
The Spanish Inquisition ramped up in the 1400s to brutally enforce a Christian culture.
Asked an inquisitive woman seated next to me at a screening on the first Saturday morning of this year's Sundance Film Festival.
In 1494 Florence became a Christian Republic and Savonarola commenced his inquisition.
He will politely listen to a recruiting pitch and then launch into an inquisitive monologue of his own: What is your Academic Progress Rate.
Metta World Peace was being his usual inquisitive self when he met the Stanley Cup Sunday.
Matthews's Awkward Inquisition of Charlie Crist.
The inquisitiveness of the cow really is striking and very consistent from cow to cow.
WBEZ's Curious City brings its inquisitive audience into the reporting action.
Ninety-six, according to the inquisitive.
Steven Gray, a young man who has always enjoyed what life has to offer on and off the basketball court, is taking his inquisitive mind to France.
Fresh off its IPO and its $1 billion Instagram inquisition, Facebook has reportedly been interested in acquiring browser Opera for its long-rumored phone.

In science:

Finally, Cardano was thrown into prison by the inquisition for heresy, for making the horoscope of Christ[Guerlac, 2].
On the Complete Solution to the Most General Fifth Degree Polynomial
They have always been supportive of me, and encouraged my inquisitive mind at an early age.
Variational Principles in General Relativity
At this time Brian’s interest in the natural world blossomed. A large farm with a variety of wildlife to study and farm equipment to dismantle is an ideal environment for an inquisitive young mind.
Variational Principles in General Relativity
They helped to develop Brian’s inquisitive nature, and taught him the value of doing something that most take for granted—thinking.
Variational Principles in General Relativity
The author is most grateful to all participants to these lectures, whether in Benin or at AIMS, for their keen and genuine interest and their many inquisitive questions, and wishes to thank Profs.
A Pedestrian Introduction to the Mathematical Concepts of Quantum Physics