[ kap-shuhs ]
/ ˈkæp ʃəs /


apt to notice and make much of trivial faults or defects; faultfinding; difficult to please.
proceeding from a faultfinding or caviling disposition: He could never praise without adding a captious remark.
apt or designed to ensnare or perplex, especially in argument: captious questions.

Nearby words

  1. captainship,
  2. captan,
  3. captation,
  4. captcha,
  5. caption,
  6. captiously,
  7. captivate,
  8. captivating,
  9. captive,
  10. captive audience

Origin of captious

1350–1400; Middle English capcious < Latin captiōsus sophistical, equivalent to capti(ō) a taking, hence, sophism (see caption) + -ōsus -ous

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for captious

British Dictionary definitions for captious


/ (ˈkæpʃəs) /


apt to make trivial criticisms; fault-finding; carping
Derived Formscaptiously, adverbcaptiousness, noun

Word Origin for captious

C14 (meaning: catching in error): from Latin captiōsus, from captiō a seizing; see caption

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 captious



c.1400, capcyus, from Middle French captieux (15c.) or directly from Latin captiosus "fallacious," from captionem (nominative captio) "a deceiving, fallacious argument," literally "a taking (in)," from captus, past participle of capere "to take, catch" (see capable). Related: Captiously; captiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper