3

RAE defines "inquisitivo" as:

inquisitivo, va. (Del lat. inquisitīvus).

  1. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a la indagación o averiguación.
  2. adj. ant. Que inquiere y averigua con cuidado y diligencia las cosas o es inclinado a ello.

but doesn't specify the context in which it can be used.

I was wondering if it would be correct to say, for example, "El niño me miró inquisitivo cuando vio que escondía algo" or, due to the association with the Spanish Inquisition, the word has only a more "aggressive"/negative meaning.

"El secuestrador me miró inquisitivo. Él sabía que escondía algo y no me iba a dejar marchar sin descubrirlo"

5

The word inquisitivo has no negative connotations. The Inquisition was called that way because they inquired, true, but that did not change the meaning or use of the word.

A related, though very different, word would be inquisitorial; this one does indeed derive from Inquisición and has a definite negative connotation. But inquisitivo is a pretty neutral word.

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