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[kwod-luh-bet] /ˈkwɒd ləˌbɛt/
a subtle or elaborate argument or point of debate, usually on a theological or scholastic subject.
Music. a humorous composition consisting of two or more independent and harmonically complementary melodies, usually quotations of well-known tunes, played or sung together, usually to different texts, in a polyphonic arrangement.
Origin of quodlibet
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin quodlibetum; compare Latin quod libet what pleases, as you please
Related forms
quodlibetic, quodlibetical, adjective
quodlibeticlly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for quodlibet
Historical Examples
  • The climax was reached in the quodlibet, when all joined in a sort of comic chorus.

    Sebastian Bach Reginald Lane Poole
  • Sebastian Bach—The clan feeling—A sixteenth century quodlibet.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • quodlibet, or that which now is quodlibet, was then as nothing.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • Sir, the Secretary is an honor to the Democracy of quodlibet:—what does he say?

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • You ought to take stock;—let me tell you, sir, as a citizen of quodlibet, you ought.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • The old family seat of the Flams is about two miles from quodlibet.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • A change had also taken place in the business affairs of quodlibet.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • Every one in quodlibet supposed that this stroke of the procession settled the matter.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • A convention was called to meet in quodlibet, where every portion of the district should be represented.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
  • Nim is the fattest man in quodlibet, and besides, is the most dressy and good-natured man we have.

    Quodlibet John P. Kennedy
British Dictionary definitions for quodlibet


a light piece of music based on two or more popular tunes
a subtle argument, esp one prepared as an exercise on a theological topic
Derived Forms
quodlibetical, adjective
quodlibetically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from quod what + libet pleases, that is, whatever you like
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 quodlibet

"a nicety, subtlety," late 14c., Latin, literally "what you will, what you please," from quod "what," neuter of qui (see who) + libet "it pleases" (see love (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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