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From Middle English enquest, from Old French enqueste (Modern French enquête), from Vulgar Latin inquirere, or from Medieval Latin inquesta < in + Latin quaesita.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɪŋkwɛst/
  • (file)


inquest (plural inquests)

  1. A formal investigation, often held before a jury, especially one into the cause of a death
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 4, in The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      The inquest on keeper Davidson was duly held, and at the commencement seemed likely to cause Tony Palliser less anxiety than he had expected.
    • 2021 August 25, Christian Wolmar, “Croydon tram crash: the questions haven't been answered”, in RAIL, number 938, page 58:
      However, the 'accidental death' verdict of the jury in the inquest into the Croydon tram accident of November 2016 is the latest episode in a saga that seems likely to prevent the full story of this eminently preventable disaster from ever being exposed.
  2. An inquiry, typically into an undesired outcome
  3. The jury hearing such an inquiry, and the result of the inquiry
  4. (rare, obsolete) enquiry; quest; search


Related terms[edit]