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Word of the Day - for Toastmasters everywhere
Tuesday 23rd July 2024
Archive | Previous word | Today's word |

captious (adjective) KAP-shus

Overtly critical, ready to find (trivial) fault, carping, easily taking offence.

Spurious consultation, a patronising attitude to teachers, and a tendency to regard all criticism as captious and ill-formed, are - while not unknown among headteachers - unlikely to win the hearts and minds of those who actually have to make things happen.

T. Brighouse (editor), Managing the National Curriculum. Amazon

Those who dedicate their works to some prince commonly fall into two errors. The first is, that in their dedicatory epistle, which ought to be brief and succinct, they dilate very complacently, whether moved by truth or flattery, on the deeds not only of their fathers and forefathers, but also of all their relations, friends, and benefactors. The second is, that they tell their patron they place their works under his protection and safeguard, in order that malicious and captious tongues may not presume to cavil and carp at them.

Miguel de Cervants Saavedra, Dedication to The Exemplary Novels. Amazon

Georgiana, who had a spoiled temper, a very acrid spite, a captious and insolent carriage, was universally indulged. Her beauty, her pink cheeks and golden curls, seemed to give delight to all who looked at her, and to purchase indemnity for every fault.
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre. Amazon

But it is difficult to remain captious when confronted by a play that so hilariously explores, and exploits, the insane rituals of theatre.

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 7 October 2000.

''I hope you will accept a plate of mussels on the house,'' he tells the unhappy (or captious, or showoff) diners. Soon they are unhappier. He saves doubtful mussels for just such an occasion, and at least a few of a complainer's complimentary two dozen are bad. The townspeople put up with indifferent food to book tables and watch the fun.

Richard Eder, The New York Times, 27 September 2001, New York Times
reviewing Jimm Crace's The Devil's Larder. Amazon

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