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verb (used without object)
  1. to find fault or complain querulously or unreasonably; be niggling in criticizing; cavil: to carp at minor errors.
  1. a peevish complaint.

Origin of carp1

1200–50; Middle English carpen to speak, prate < Old Norse karpa to brag, wrangle
Related formscarp·er, noun


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1. criticize, deprecate, condemn, censure.


noun, plural (especially collectively) carp, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) carps.
  1. a large freshwater cyprinid fish, Cyprinus carpio, native to Asia but widely introduced in tropical and temperate waters: an important food fish in many countries.
  2. any of various other fishes of the family Cyprinidae.

Origin of carp2

1350–1400; Middle English carpe < Middle French < Middle Dutch or Middle Low German karpe; cognate with Old High German karpfo


  1. a combining form occurring in compounds that denote a part of a fruit or fruiting body: endocarp.

Origin of -carp

< New Latin -carpium < Greek -karpion, derivative of karpós fruit


  1. carpentry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for carp


  1. (intr often foll by at) to complain or find fault; nag pettily
Derived Formscarper, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old Norse karpa to boast; related to Latin carpere to pluck


noun plural carp or carps
  1. a freshwater teleost food fish, Cyprinus carpio, having a body covered with cycloid scales, a naked head, one long dorsal fin, and two barbels on each side of the mouth: family Cyprinidae
  2. any other fish of the family Cyprinidae; a cyprinid
Related formsRelated adjectives: cyprinid, cyprinoid

Word Origin

C14: from Old French carpe, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German karpfo, Old Norse karfi


n combining form
  1. (in botany) fruit or a reproductive structure that develops into a particular part of the fruitepicarp

Word Origin

from New Latin -carpium, from Greek -karpion, from karpos fruit
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

Word Origin and History for carp


type of freshwater fish, late 14c., from Old French carpe "carp" (13c.) and directly from Vulgar Latin carpa (source also of Italian carpa, Spanish carpa), from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch carpe, Dutch karper, Old High German karpfo, German Karpfen "carp"); possibly the immediate source is Gothic *karpa. A Danube fish (hence the proposed East Germanic origin of its name), introduced in English ponds 14c. Lithuanian karpis, Russian karp are Germanic loan words.


"complain," early 13c., originally "to talk," from Old Norse karpa "to brag," of unknown origin; meaning turned toward "find fault with" (late 14c.), probably by influence of Latin carpere "to slander, revile," literally "to pluck" (see harvest (n.)). Related: Carped; carping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper