Etymology
Advertisement
inquire (v.)
c. 1300, enqueren, anqueren, "to ask (a question), ask about, ask for (specific information); learn or find out by asking, seek information or knowledge; to conduct a legal or official investigation (into an alleged offense)," from Old French enquerre "ask, inquire about" (Modern French enquérir) and directly from Medieval Latin inquerere, from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin quaerere "ask, seek" (see query (v.)), in place of classical Latin inquirere "seek after, search for, examine, scrutinize." The English word was respelled 14c. on the Latin model, but half-Latinized enquire persists. Related: Inquired; inquiring.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
inquirer (n.)
1560s, "one who inquires, a seeker, an investigator," agent noun from inquire.
Related entries & more 
inquiring (adj.)
"given to inquiry or investigation," 1590s, present-participle adjective from inquire (v.). Related: Inquiringly.
Related entries & more 
enquire (v.)
alternative form of inquire, according to OED mainly used in sense of "to ask a question." Related: enquired; enquiring.
Related entries & more 
inquiry (n.)
early 15c., enquery, "a judicial examination of facts to determine truth;" mid-15c. in general sense "attempt to learn something, act or fact of inquiring," probably an Anglo-French noun developed from enqueren "to inquire" (see inquire). Respelled from mid-16c. to conform to Latin.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
inquisitive (adj.)

late 14c., from Old French inquisitif, from Late Latin inquisitivus "making inquiry," from Latin inquisit-, past participle stem of inquirere "seek after, search for; examine, investigate" (see inquire).

An housbonde shal nat been Inquisityf of goddes pryuetee nor of his wyf. [Chaucer, "Miller's Prologue"]

Related: Inquisitively; inquisitiveness.

Related entries & more 
inquest (n.)
Origin and meaning of inquest
late 13c., enquest, an-queste "legal or judicial inquiry," especially one before a jury, from Old French enqueste "inquiry" (Modern French enquête), from Vulgar Latin *inquaestia (source also of Italian inchiesta), from Latin inquisita (res) "(a thing) looked into; an inquiry," from fem. past participle of Latin inquirere "to seek after, search for" (see inquire). The form with in- prevailed from 18c.
Related entries & more 
inquisitor (n.)
c. 1400, "an inspector, one who makes inquiries," from Anglo-French inquisitour, Old French inquisiteur, or directly from Latin inquisitor "searcher, examiner; a legal investigator, collector of evidence," agent noun from Latin inquirere (see inquire). As the title of an officer of the Inquisition, from 1540s. Related: Inquisitorial. Of the fem. forms, inquisitress (1727) is senior to inquisitrix (1825).
Related entries & more 
inquisition (n.)
late 14c., "judicial investigation, act or process of inquiring," from Old French inquisicion "inquiry, investigation" (12c., Modern French inquisition), from Latin inquisitionem (nominative inquisitio) "a searching into, a seeking; legal examination, a seeking of grounds for accusation," noun of action from past participle stem of inquirere (see inquire).

In Church history, inquisitors were appointed from 382 C.E. to root out heretics; the ecclesiastical court appointed 13c. by Innocent III to suppress heresy never operated in Britain. The English word began to be used in this sense (and with a capital initial letter) after c. 1500, and usually refers to the office's reorganization 1478-1483 in Spain, where it fell under the control of the state as what is commonly called the Spanish Inquisition, noted especially for its severity, secrecy, and the number of its victims.
Related entries & more 
question (v.)

late 15c., questiounen, "to inquire, ask, seek to know," from question (n.) and from Old French questioner "ask questions, interrogate, torture" (13c.), from question (n.). Hence "to dispute, doubt," by 1530s. Transitive sense of "inquire of by asking questions" is from late 15c. Related: Questioned; questioning. Alternative verb questionize is attested from 1847.

Related entries & more