[ kahrp ]
/ kɑrp /
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verb (used without object)
to find fault or complain querulously or unreasonably; be niggling in criticizing; cavil: to carp at minor errors.
a peevish complaint.
Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between "it’s" and "its" in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 8
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of carp

1200–50; Middle English carpen to speak, prate <Old Norse karpa to brag, wrangle


carper, noun

Other definitions for carp (2 of 4)

[ kahrp ]
/ kɑrp /

noun, plural (especially collectively) carp, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) carps.
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.
any of various other fishes of the family Cyprinidae.

Origin of carp

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

Other definitions for carp (3 of 4)


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

Other definitions for carp (4 of 4)


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -carp mean?

The combining form -carp is used like a suffix to refer to fruit or a fruiting body. A fruiting body is an organ that produces spores, which develops into a part of a fruit. It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology and botany.

The combining form -carp ultimately comes from the Greek karpós, meaning “fruit.” The combining form -carpic is used to form adjectives of words ending in -carp. Equivalent to -carpic is -carpous, meaning “fruited.”

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use -carpic and -carpous articles.

Examples of -carp

An example of a word from biology that features -carp is monocarp, meaning “a plant that dies after having once borne fruit.”

The first part of the word, mono, might look familiar. It means “single” or “one.” The second part, –carp, means “fruit,” as we now know. Monocarp literally translates to “one fruit.”

What are some words that use the combining form –carp?

What are some other forms that -carp may be commonly confused with?

You probably associate carp with a fish more than a fruit—or with a whole lot of complaining! We can’t quibble with those associations, but neither of these senses of carp are related to the combining form -carp.

Break it down!

The combining form exo- means “outside,” “outer,” or “external.” With this in mind, what is the exocarp of an orange?

How to use carp in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for carp (1 of 3)

/ (kɑːp) /

(intr often foll by at) to complain or find fault; nag pettily

Derived forms of carp

carper, noun

Word Origin for carp

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

British Dictionary definitions for carp (2 of 3)

/ (kɑːp) /

noun plural carp or carps
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
any other fish of the family Cyprinidae; a cyprinid

Other words from carp

Related adjectives: cyprinid, cyprinoid

Word Origin for carp

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

British Dictionary definitions for carp (3 of 3)


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

Word Origin for -carp

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