a. An investigation conducted by a coroner, sometimes with the aid of a jury, into the cause of death of a person when the cause may be criminal.
b. A hearing conducted by a judge or magistrate to determine damages when a defendant has defaulted.
c. A judicial inquiry into a specified matter, such as a person's mental condition.
2. An investigation or inquiry: "In his inquest into the earliest days of Rome he had to confront the question of the relation between history and myth" (Robert Ackerman).
[Middle English enqueste, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *inquaesīta, thing inquired into, alteration of Latin inquīsīta, feminine past participle of inquīrere, to inquire into; see INQUIRE.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.