cap·tious /ˈkæpʃəs/

1. apt to notice and make much of trivial faults or defects; faultfinding; difficult to please.
2. proceeding from a faultfinding or caviling disposition: He could never praise without adding a captious remark.
3. apt or designed to ensnare or perplex, esp. in argument: captious questions.

1350–1400; ME capcious < L captiōsus sophistical, equiv. to capti ( ō ) a taking, hence, sophism ( see caption) + –ōsus -ous

—Related forms
cap·tious·ly, adverb
cap·tious·ness, noun
non·cap·tious, adjective
non·cap·tious·ly, adverb
non·cap·tious·ness, noun
o·ver·cap·tious, adjective
o·ver·cap·tious·ly, adverb
o·ver·cap·tious·ness, noun
un·cap·tious, adjective
un·cap·tious·ly, adverb
un·cap·tious·ness, noun

1. carping, nitpicking, niggling, picky, testy.


I would seem captious were I to complain.

Source: Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance.

Categories: Lexicon, Literature, Quotations
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