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quiddity

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noun, quid·di·ty \ˈkwi-də-tē\

Definition of quiddity

plural quiddities

  1. 1 :  whatever makes something the type that it is :  essence

  2. 2 a :  a trifling point :  quibble b :  crotchet, eccentricity



Examples of quiddity in a sentence

  1. <for all of her quiddities, she is a very wise and generous lady>

  2. <Rembrandt's genius was his unparalleled ability to render a person's quiddity in a single portrait.>



Did You Know?

When it comes to synonyms of "quiddity," the Q's have it. Consider "quintessence," a synonym of the "essence of a thing" sense of "quiddity" (this oldest sense of "quiddity" dates from the 14th century). "Quibble" is a synonym of the "trifling point" sense; that meaning of "quiddity" arose from the subtler points of 16th-century academic arguments. And "quirk," like "quiddity," can refer to a person's eccentricities. Of course, "quiddity" also derives from a "Q" word, the Latin pronoun quis, which is one of two Latin words for "who" (the other is "qui"). "Quid," the neuter form of "quis," gave rise to the Medieval Latin quidditas, which means "essence," a term that was essential to the development of the English "quiddity."

Origin of quiddity

Middle English quidite, from Medieval Latin quidditat-, quidditas essence, from Latin quid what, neuter of quis who — more at who


First Known Use: 14th century


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