Word of the Day

Monday, October 28, 2002


\KAP-shuhs\ , adjective;
Marked by a disposition to find fault or raise objections.
Calculated to entrap or confuse, as in an argument.
The most common among those are captious individuals who can find nothing wrong with their own actions but everything wrong with the actions of everybody else.
-- "In-Closet Hypocrites", Atlanta Inquirer, August 15, 1998
Mr Bowman had, I think, been keeping Christmas Eve, and was a little inclined to be captious: at least, he was not on foot very early, and to judge from what I could hear, neither men nor maids could do anything to please him.
-- M. R. James, The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Stories
Most authors would prefer readers such as Roiphe over captious academic critics.
-- Steven Moore, "Old Flames", Washington Post, November 26, 2000
With the imperturbablest bland clearness, he, for five hours long, keeps answering the incessant volley of fiery captious questions.
-- Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution
Captious is derived from Latin captiosus, "sophistical, captious, insidious," from captio, "a taking, a fallacy, sophism," from capere, "to take, to seize."
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