When an autopsy is performed to determine the cause of death and law enforcement investigates to determine if a homicide occurred, this is an example of an inquest.
- a judicial inquiry, as a coroner's investigation of a death
- the jury or group holding such an inquiry
- the verdict of such an inquiry
Origin of inquestMiddle English enqueste from Old French from Vulgar Latin an unverified form inquaesita, feminine past participle of an unverified form inquaerere: see inquire
- Law 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.
- 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 )
Origin of inquestMiddle 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 .
From Old French enqueste (Modern French enquête), from Vulgar Latin inquirere, or from Medieval Latin inquesta < in + Latin quaesita.
inquest - Legal Definition
- An inquiry into a suspicious death conducted by a coroner or medical examiner.
- An inquiry into a particular subject matter by a special jury.
- A judge’s determination of damages after a defendant’s default.