One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The burning of a heretic by the Spanish Inquisition.
- ‘They are then dressed in the traditional garb for heretics punished in an auto-da-fé.’
- ‘Impenitents - heretics burned at the stake during autos-da-fé - wore black san benitos decorated with devils and flames.’
- ‘The recent autos-da-fé, however, should serve as reminders of the region's turbulent past and warnings of a possible return to violence and instability in the near future.’
- ‘Pangloss explains that he wasn't burned as was customary at an auto-da-fé because of the rain.’
- ‘Putting down his tray, he let out a series of strangulated, guttural screams and jerked his arms in a chilling imitation of an auto-da-fé.’
- 1.1 A sentence condemning a person to an auto-da-fé.
Early 18th century: from Portuguese, literally ‘act of the faith’.
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