Definition of inquisition in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnkwɪˈzɪʃ(ə)n/


1A period of prolonged and intensive questioning: she relented in her determined inquisition and offered help
More example sentences
  • And as their coach and captain faced the first questions of a lengthy inquisition, the atmosphere was distinctly funereal.
  • He attempted to head off my questions with inquisitions about the trip.
  • Already there are signs that he is wearying of questions about next year's duel with the Americans but the bad news for the Largs-born player is that the inquisition will intensify with each month.
interrogation, questioning, quizzing, cross-examination, cross-questioning, catechism;
informal grilling, pumping, giving someone the third degree
1.1 historical A judicial or official inquiry.
Example sentences
  • It is a trial, not an inquisition: a trial in which the protagonists are the Crown on the one hand and the accused on the other.
  • A brief look at the escheator's inquisitions in the wake of the revolt add substance to this assessment.
  • In 1246 an inquisition jury attributed the foundation to the Conqueror and identified the recipients of hospitality as the poor, sick and infirm who had no homes but slept in the streets at night.
2 (the Inquisition) An ecclesiastical tribunal established by Pope Gregory IX circa 1232 for the suppression of heresy. It was active chiefly in northern Italy and southern France, becoming notorious for the use of torture. In 1542 the papal Inquisition was revived to combat Protestantism, eventually becoming an organ of papal government. See also Spanish Inquisition.



Pronunciation: /ˌɪnkwɪˈzɪʃ(ə)n(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • In his reprise of Paradise Lost, original sin is a lie, and God is an ancient fallen angel who has perpetrated a creationist con on the human race, wickedly exploited by a viciously inquisitional church.
  • When this happens, a very rare occurrence to be sure, the full force of inquisitional opposition from the scientific priesthood is brought to bear on the heretic.
  • Each walked a fine line between the threat of inquisitional prosecution for heresy and prosecution by secular authorities in land or other disputes.


Late Middle English (denoting a searching examination): via Old French from Latin inquisitio(n-) 'examination', from the verb inquirere (see enquire).

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Line breaks: in|qui|si¦tion

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