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Inquisition

A court instituted to inquire into offences against the Roman Catholic religion. Fully established by Pope Gregory IX. in 1235. It was most active in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Those found guilty were handed over to the secular arm to be dealt with according to the secular laws of the land. Suppressed in France in 1772, and not finally in Spain till 1834. (Latin, inquisitio, a searching into.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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