: to find fault or complain querulously
Did You Know?
You might guess that today's word is a descendant of the noun carp, referring to a type of fish. That's a reasonable speculation, but the words are unrelated. Both entered the English language in the 15th century but from different sources. Whereas the fish's name traces back to Latin carpa, the verb is of Scandinavian origin: it may be related to the Icelandic verb karpa, meaning "to dispute" or "to wrangle," and beyond that perhaps to Old Norse karp, meaning "boasting" or "arrogance." There is a noun carp that is related to the Scandinavian verb, however: it means "complaint," and it dates to that same century.
"The play begins in 1619, three years after his death, when a few of his former colleagues are carping about the pirated versions of his plays now cluttering London stages and bookstalls." — Alexis Soloski, The New York Times, 25 July 2017
"Cynthia began her work day with a contentious discussion involving a contract dispute.... From there she went right into a staff meeting where a number of her employees carped about minor operational issues as if they were monumental. At various junctures, she found herself holding her breath and gritting her teeth." — Philip Chard, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 June 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
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