c. 1300, "an inquest, a judicial inquiry;" early 14c., "a search for something, the act of seeking, pursuit" (especially in reference to hounds seeking game in the hunt), from Old French queste "search, quest, chase, hunt, pursuit; inquest, inquiry" (12c., Modern French quête), properly "the act of seeking," and directly from Medieval Latin questa "search, inquiry," alteration of Latin quaesitus (fem. quaesita) "sought-out, select," past participle of quaerere "seek, gain, ask" (see query (n.)).
The medieval romance sense of "adventure undertaken by a knight" (especially the search for the Grail) is attested from late 14c. Chaucer has questmonger (late 14c.), "one who profits from an unjust action at law."
mid-14c., questen, "to seek game, hunt" (in reference to dogs, etc.), from quest (n.) and from Old French quester "to search, hunt," from queste (n.). Related: Quested; questing. Of persons, in the general sense of "go in search, make inquiry," by 1620s. Of hunting dogs, "to bark, bay," as when on the scent of game, mid-14c., hence the questing beast, fabulous animal in Arthurian romances, which was so-called according to Malory for the sound it made:
I am the knyght that folowyth the glatysaunte beste, that is in Englysh to sey the questynge beste, for the beste quested in the bealy with suche a noyse as hit had bene a thirty couple of howndis. ["Le Morte Darthur"]
1530s, quaere "a question," from Latin quaere "to ask, inquire," "much used as a marginal note or memorandum to indicate a question or doubt, and hence taken as a noun" [Century Dictionary], second person singular imperative of quaerere "to seek, look for; strive, endeavor, strive to gain; ask, require, demand;" figuratively "seek mentally, seek to learn, make inquiry," probably ultimately from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns. Spelling Englished or altered c. 1600 by influence of inquiry. Compare quest.
Query stands for a question asked without force, a point about which one would like to be informed : the word is used with all degrees of weakness down to the mere expression of a doubt; as, I raised a query as to the strength of the bridge. [Century Dictionary]
in Greek mythology, the name of a region in the far southeast corner of the Black Sea (in what is now Georgia), the homeland of Medea and associated with Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece. Related: Colchian.
"person or thing that people hope will be very successful in the near future," 1911, originally in U.S. sporting use in reference to the quest for a white man capable of beating champion pugilist Jack Johnson.
"to rove in quest of plunder, make an excursion for booty," especially of organized bands of soldiers, etc., 1711, from French marauder (17c.), from maraud "rascal" (15c.), a word of unknown origin, perhaps from French dialectal maraud "tomcat," echoic of its cry.
A word popularized in several languages during the Thirty Years' War (Spanish merodear, German marodiren, marodieren "to maraud," marodebruder "straggler, deserter") by punning association with Count Mérode, imperialist general. Related: Marauded; marauding.
c. 1300, "full of danger; risky; involving exposure to death, destruction or injury," also "spiritually dangerous," from Old French perillos "perilous, dangerous" (Modern French périlleux), from Latin periculosus "dangerous, hazardous," from periculum "a danger, attempt, risk," with instrumentive suffix -culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk." In Arthurian romances, the sege perilous (c. 1400) was the seat reserved for the knight who should achieve the quest of the Grail. Related: Perilously; perilousness.