Word of the Day

: January 2, 2022


adjective KAP-shuss

What It Means

Captious usually means "tending to find fault and raise objections." Less commonly, it means "calculated to confuse, entrap, or entangle in argument."

// Surprisingly, the critic, who is known for being captious, found the movie to be a flawless gem.

// Befuddled by the captious questions, the suspect broke down and confessed to the crime.

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captious in Context

"Enjoyable as the book is, a purist will nonetheless fault its loose construction. Still, readers shouldn't be overly captious about this diverting, light entertainment." — Michael Dirda, The Denver Post, 7 Oct. 2018

Did You Know?

Captious comes from Latin captio, which refers to a deception or verbal quibble. Arguments labeled captious are likely to "capture" a person; they often entrap through subtly deceptive reasoning or trifling points. A captious individual is one who might also be dubbed "hypercritical," the sort of carping, censorious critic only too ready to point out minor faults and raise objections on trivial grounds.


Fill in the blanks to complete a word that derives from Latin capere (meaning "to take") and refers to a command or principle intended as a general rule of action: p _ _ ce _ _.



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