[ skroo-puhl ]
/ ˈskru pəl /


a moral or ethical consideration or standard that acts as a restraining force or inhibits certain actions.
a very small portion or amount.
a unit of weight equal to 20 grains (1.295 grams) or 1/3 of a dram, apothecaries' weight.
an ancient Roman unit of weight equivalent to 1/24 of an ounce or 1/288 of an as or pound.Compare as2(def 2).

verb (used without object), scru·pled, scru·pling.

to have scruples.

verb (used with object), scru·pled, scru·pling.

to have scruples about; hesitate at.

Nearby words

  1. scrumpy,
  2. scrunch,
  3. scruncheon,
  4. scrunchie,
  5. scrunchy,
  6. scrupulous,
  7. scrutable,
  8. scrutator,
  9. scrutineer,
  10. scrutinise

Origin of scruple

1350–1400; (< French scrupule) < Latin scrūpulus unit of weight, worry, precaution equivalent to scrūp(us) rough pebble + -ulus -ule; replacing earlier scriple, Middle English < Latin scrīpulum (variant scriptulum) small weight, pebble, alteration of scrūpulus by association with scrīptum writing (see script; for sense relation cf. gram1)

Related formsscru·ple·less, adjectiveo·ver·scru·ple, verb, o·ver·scru·pled, o·ver·scru·pling.un·scru·pled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scruple

British Dictionary definitions for scruple


/ (ˈskruːpəl) /


(often plural) a doubt or hesitation as to what is morally right in a certain situation
archaic a very small amount
a unit of weight equal to 20 grains (1.296 grams)
an ancient Roman unit of weight equivalent to approximately one twenty-fourth of an ounce


(obsolete when tr) to have doubts (about), esp for a moral reason
Derived Formsscrupleless, adjective

Word Origin for scruple

C16: from Latin scrūpulus a small weight, from scrūpus rough stone

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 scruple
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for scruple


[ skrōōpəl ]


An uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action.
A unit of apothecary weight that is equal to about 1.3 grams, or 20 grains.
A minute part or amount.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.