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Definition of "captious" [cap•tious]

  • Marked by a disposition to find and point out trivial faults: a captious scholar. (adjective)
  • Intended to entrap or confuse, as in an argument: a captious question. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "captious" in a sentence
  • "'Well, my lord, I don't think I could be called captious for saying that the world has not gone over well with me.'"
  • "Those interchanges have ranged from the thoughtful interplay of ideas and differing points of view, to the captious arguments of those whose only apparent mission in life is to dismiss anything or anyone pointing a way forward."
  • "The authorities were quietly allowing others to occupy similar parcels—chiefly dam worker families whom Young judged “quiet, good people” and whose occupancy “we have informally suffered ... in order not to be oppressive, unreasonable, or captious in our treatment of good citizens.”"