late 14c., from Old French inspeccion "inspection, examination" (13c., Modern French inspection), from Latin inspectionem (nominative inspectio) "a looking into," noun of action from past participle stem of inspicere "look at, observe, view; look into, inspect, examine," from in- "into" (from PIE root *en "in") + specere "to look" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Old English used onbesceawung as a loan-translation of Latin inspectio. Related: Inspectional.
"look inquisitively, look closely or with scrutinizing curiosity," c. 1300, prien "to peer in," a word of unknown origin, perhaps related to late Old English bepriwan "to wink." Related: Pried; prying. As a noun, "act of prying, curious or close inspection," from 1750; meaning "inquisitive, intrusive person" is from 1845.