[ kap-shuhs ]
See synonyms for captious on
  1. apt to notice and make much of trivial faults or defects; faultfinding; difficult to please.

  2. proceeding from a faultfinding or caviling disposition: He could never praise without adding a captious remark.

  1. apt or designed to ensnare or perplex, especially in argument: captious questions.

Origin of captious

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

Other words for captious

Other words from captious

  • cap·tious·ly, adverb
  • cap·tious·ness, noun
  • non·cap·tious, adjective
  • non·cap·tious·ly, adverb
  • non·cap·tious·ness, noun
  • o·ver·cap·tious, adjective
  • o·ver·cap·tious·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·cap·tious·ness, noun
  • un·cap·tious, adjective
  • un·cap·tious·ly, adverb
  • un·cap·tious·ness, noun

Words Nearby captious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use captious in a sentence

  • The human sweetness in him was half dried up, and a misanthropy, so new and alien to him, made him querulous and captious.

    The Life of Mazzini | Bolton King
  • But the real Hynde Horn in the dear old ballad had a truelove who was not captious and capricious and cold like Francesca.

  • "There, you hear that," said Lawless, who had just drunk enough to render him captious and obstinate.

    Frank Fairlegh | Frank E. Smedley
  • The Pharisees, always captious and controversial, sought to entangle the Savior in a discussion on the subject of divorce.

  • A captious eye might have marked it as somewhat lacking—somewhat too round and ready, like the ripple on a pan of water.

British Dictionary definitions for captious


/ (ˈkæpʃəs) /

  1. apt to make trivial criticisms; fault-finding; carping

Origin of captious

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

Derived forms of captious

  • captiously, adverb
  • captiousness, noun

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