noun (1)
scru·​ple | \ ˈskrü-pəl How to pronounce scruple (audio) \

Definition of scruple

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a unit of capacity equal to ¹/₂₄ Apothecaries' ounce — see Weights and Measures Table
2 : a minute part or quantity : iota


noun (2)

Definition of scruple (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an ethical consideration or principle that inhibits action
2 : the quality or state of being scrupulous
3 : mental reservation


scrupled; scrupling\ ˈskrü-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce scruple (audio) \

Definition of scruple (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to have scruples
2 : to show reluctance on grounds of conscience : hesitate

Synonyms & Antonyms for scruple

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Noun (2)

qualm, scruple, compunction, demur mean a misgiving about what one is doing or going to do. qualm implies an uneasy fear that one is not following one's conscience or better judgment. no qualms about plagiarizing scruple implies doubt of the rightness of an act on grounds of principle. no scruples against buying stolen goods compunction implies a spontaneous feeling of responsibility or compassion for a potential victim. had compunctions about lying demur implies hesitation caused by objection to an outside suggestion or influence. accepted her decision without demur

Examples of scruple in a Sentence

Verb a tabloid journalist who has never scrupled to reveal the most intimate details about the lives of celebrities

First Known Use of scruple

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scruple

Noun (1)

Middle English scrupil, scriple, from Anglo-French scruple, from Latin scrupulus a unit of weight, diminutive of scrupus sharp stone

Noun (2)

Middle English scripil, scrupill, from Anglo-French scruble, from Latin scrupulus, diminutive of scrupus source of uneasiness, literally, sharp stone

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Time Traveler for scruple

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The first known use of scruple was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Scruple.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for scruple


scru·​ple | \ ˈskrü-pəl How to pronounce scruple (audio) \

Kids Definition of scruple

1 : a sense of right and wrong that keeps a person from doing something bad
2 : a feeling of guilt from doing something bad


scru·​ple | \ ˈskrü-pəl How to pronounce scruple (audio) \

Medical Definition of scruple

: a unit of apothecaries' weight equal to 20 grains or ¹/₃ dram or 1.296 grams

More from Merriam-Webster on scruple

Nglish: Translation of scruple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scruple for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scruple


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