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[kwiz-i-kuh l] /ˈkwɪz ɪ kəl/
odd, queer, or comical.
questioning or puzzled:
a quizzical expression on her face.
derisively questioning, ridiculing, or chaffing.
Origin of quizzical
First recorded in 1790-1800; quiz + -ical
Related forms
quizzicality, quizzicalness, noun
quizzically, adverb
unquizzical, adjective
unquizzically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for quizzical
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Pat turned to the boys, and they could see a quizzical gleam in his blue eyes.

  • But Rat was quizzical about the whole enterprise when Alan returned to his room to get him.

    Starman's Quest Robert Silverberg
  • Clodagh, to her own annoyance, coloured; and Barnard smiled in his observant, quizzical fashion.

    The Gambler Katherine Cecil Thurston
  • The tinker turned a quizzical eye on the four inquiring faces.

    The Chestermarke Instinct J. S. Fletcher
  • Presently the Major looked up and gave them both a quizzical smile.

  • Natasha's face, leaning out of the window, beamed with quizzical kindliness.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for quizzical


questioning and mocking or supercilious: a quizzical look
Derived Forms
quizzicality, noun
quizzically, adverb
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 quizzical

1789, from quiz "odd or eccentric person" (1782), of unknown origin (see quiz (n.)) + -ical. Related: Quizzically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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