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Definition: Evasion of a point

Pronunciation: Say it like you see it. Quih-b.


Quib entered into the English language in the 1500s. A Latin word, it was part of the register of words used by the legal profession (up until relatively recent times, all law conducted in Europe, for centuries, was in Latin). The word itself derives from the Latin ‘Quid’ – itself meaning ‘How’, or ‘Why’ or ‘In what respect?’.

Why This Word?

The word ‘Quibble’ relates to petty disagreements – but it most likely originates from the word quib Indeed, it is thought that ‘quibble’ may relate to a little quib.

I find it interesting that the English language has decided to keep the word ‘Quibble’, meaning a ‘little quib’, but has decided to drop quib altogether. Indeed, we don’t really have another word that functions in the place of quib.

One wonders if quib would have survived the 20th century in any case. Think of any drama -staved courtroom movie where the prosecution points an accusitory finger and utters the line “You’re evading the question”. Would it have had the same effect if the finger was still pointed, the jury still sat at the edge of their seats … but the lawyer said “You’re quibbing!” I think not.

How to use the word quib in a sentence?

This is a word that will be linked either to your income level or, alternatively, the number of confirmed generations in your family’s genealogical record. The higher the number of either, the more likely you are to be able to use the word quib … without quibble.


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Written by Sean Carabini

Seán Carabini is a Dublin-based author. To date, Seán has written the humorous travel memoirs 'Sticking Out in Minnesota' and 'American Road', as well as 'American Road: The poems' - a book of travel poetry related to the memoir. Seán has also developed a podcast based on the book - subscribe to the American Road podcast today! Seán is a committee member of the Irish Writers' Union.

Chrissy Skelton is Seán Carabini's editor. A graduate of the University of Minnesota's Anthropology programme, Chrissy emerged armed with an arsenal of little-known words and cumbersome jargon - all of which will now be off-loaded onto 'unusedwords' readers!


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