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scruple

[skroo-puh l] /ˈskru pəl/
noun
1.
a moral or ethical consideration or standard that acts as a restraining force or inhibits certain actions.
2.
a very small portion or amount.
3.
a unit of weight equal to 20 grains (1.295 grams) or 1/3 of a dram, apothecaries' weight.
4.
an ancient Roman unit of weight equivalent to 1/24 of an ounce or 1/288 of an as or pound.
Compare as2 (def 2).
verb (used without object), scrupled, scrupling.
5.
to have scruples.
verb (used with object), scrupled, scrupling.
6.
to have scruples about; hesitate at.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; (< French scrupule) < Latin scrūpulus unit of weight, worry, precaution equivalent to scrūp(us) rough pebble + -ulus -ule; replacing earlier scriple, Middle English < Latin scrīpulum (variant scriptulum) small weight, pebble, alteration of scrūpulus by association with scrīptum writing (see script; for sense relation cf. gram)
Related forms
scrupleless, adjective
overscruple, verb, overscrupled, overscrupling.
unscrupled, adjective
Synonyms
1. qualm, compunction, restraint. 6. waver.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for unscrupled

scruple

/ˈskruːpəl/
noun
1.
(often pl) a doubt or hesitation as to what is morally right in a certain situation
2.
(archaic) a very small amount
3.
a unit of weight equal to 20 grains (1.296 grams)
4.
an ancient Roman unit of weight equivalent to approximately one twenty-fourth of an ounce
verb
5.
(obsolete when transitive) to have doubts (about), esp for a moral reason
Derived Forms
scrupleless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin scrūpulus a small weight, from scrūpus rough stone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unscrupled

scruple

n.

"moral misgiving, pang of conscience," late 14c., from Old French scrupule (14c.), from Latin scrupulus "uneasiness, anxiety, pricking of conscience," literally "small sharp stone," diminutive of scrupus "sharp stone or pebble," used figuratively by Cicero for a cause of uneasiness or anxiety, probably from the notion of having a pebble in one's shoe. The word in the more literal Latin sense of "small unit of weight or measurement" is attested in English from late 14c.

v.

"to have or make scruples," 1620s, from scruple (n.). Related: Scrupled; scrupling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unscrupled in Medicine

scruple scru·ple (skrōō'pəl)
n.

  1. An uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action.

  2. A unit of apothecary weight that is equal to about 1.3 grams, or 20 grains.

  3. A minute part or amount.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for unscrupled

scruple

unit of weight in the apothecaries' system, equal to 20 grains, or one-third dram, and equivalent to 1.296 grams. It was sometimes mistakenly assigned to the avoirdupois system. In ancient times, when coinage weights customarily furnished the lower subdivisions of weight systems, the scruple (from Latin scrupulus, "small stone" or "pebble") was a unit of Roman commercial weight as well as a unit of coinage weight. One drachma, the basic Greek silver unit, consisted of three scruples.

Learn more about scruple with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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