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Quibble   /kwˈɪbəl/   Listen
Quibble

noun
1.
An evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections.  Synonyms: cavil, quiddity.



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"Quibble" Quotes from Famous Books



... to make you think yourself better than others, quibble over texts, wear sour looks, domineer over others' consciences or give your own over to bondage; stifle your scruples, follow religious forms for fashion or gain, do good in the hope of escaping future punishment?—oh, then, if you proclaim yourself the follower of Buddha, ...
— The Simple Life • Charles Wagner

... going to quibble over words. Believing me to be dead, you had me impersonated, planning to use my name on ...
— Swirling Waters • Max Rittenberg

... fascinations are irresistible. Whatever be the dignity or profundity of his disquisition, whether he be enlarging knowledge or exalting affection, whether he be amusing attention with incidents, or enchaining it in suspense, let but a quibble spring up before him, and he leaves his work unfinished. A quibble is the golden apple for which he will always turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation. A quibble, poor and barren as it is, gave him such delight, that he was content ...
— Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books - with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations • Charles W. Eliot

... Salisbury, in the early days that I speak of, was a kind-hearted chairman, and would never allow the quibble of the lawyer to stand in the way of justice to the prisoner. In those days at sessions they were not so nice in the observances of mere forms as they are now, and you could sometimes get in something that was not exactly ...
— The Reminiscences Of Sir Henry Hawkins (Baron Brampton) • Henry Hawkins Brampton

... charge of having stripped off his cloak or shirt but you would have discharged him because he was not called a "clothesstealer." And if any one should be caught carrying off a boy, you would not say he was a kidnapper, if you quibble with terms, and will not pay attention to the facts to express which terms are invented. 11. Consider this now, gentlemen of the jury. For this man seems never to have gone to the Areopagus through ...
— The Orations of Lysias • Lysias

... Jefferson and Madison became converts to Livingston's faith. Madison wrote at once that in view of these developments no proposal to exchange Louisiana for the Floridas should be entertained; the President declared himself satisfied that "our right to the Perdido is substantial and can be opposed by a quibble on form only"; and John Randolph, duly coached by the Administration, flatly declared in the House of Representatives that "We have not only obtained the command of the mouth of the Mississippi, but of the Mobile, with its widely extended branches; and there is not now a single stream ...
— Jefferson and his Colleagues - A Chronicle of the Virginia Dynasty, Volume 15 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Allen Johnson

... a mere quibble—a legal quibble. Well, there is no doubt that you would make a very ...
— An Algonquin Maiden - A Romance of the Early Days of Upper Canada • G. Mercer Adam

... justice—it could be called by no other name—every opportunity of veiling its real purpose. In this De Mouchy was managing the trial with great skill. The prisoners of no account—the scrivener's clerk, the poor shopkeeper, the small mercer—got the benefit of plea and quibble! God knows, I did not grudge them that! But each acquittal, pronounced loudly in the name of the King's mercy, with high-flown words about the love of the King for his people, led step by step to the real object for ...
— Orrain - A Romance • S. Levett-Yeats

... tones if anything is some low-sperited. "I takes it," he says, when he's able to command his feelin's, "that you declines them proffers with your winchester at the time when made." But the lady dismisses this as a quibble, an' merely sayin' that she won't be paltered with no farther, orders Oscar an' the Bible sharp who's ridin' inside to assemble by the edge of the trail. The Bible sharp attempts to lay the foundations of fresh objections by askin' Oscar ...
— Faro Nell and Her Friends - Wolfville Stories • Alfred Henry Lewis

... reverence of the Holy Scriptures, nothing has more occasioned it than the ridiculous and idle discourses that are uttered out of pulpits. For when the Gallants of the world do observe how the Ministers themselves do jingle, quibble, and play the fool with the Texts: no wonder, if they, who are so inclinable to Atheism, do not only deride and despise the Priests; but droll upon the Bible! and make a mock of all ...
— An English Garner - Critical Essays & Literary Fragments • Edited by Professor Arber and Thomas Seccombe

... the Son of God hath the witness in himself." I suddenly realized that that had been made true to me. I have the witness in my own heart that Christ is the Son of God, my Saviour! That His Presence is on earth and manifest to me at many times. No seeming variance of science, no quibble of the intellect, can ever disturb this faith on which my soul rests. It is more than a conviction; it is a perfect satisfaction! I KNOW! I may not be able to explain all mysteries, but I can never doubt again, because I know. The more I meet with modern skepticism, ...
— The Witness • Grace Livingston Hill Lutz

... short, you will see from the facts that I'm showing, The state of the case is exceedingly sad; If Thespis's people go on as they're going, Olympus will certainly go to the bad. From Jupiter downward there isn't a dab in it, All of 'em quibble and shuffle and shirk, A premier in Downing Street forming a cabinet, Couldn't find people less fit ...
— The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan - The 14 Gilbert And Sullivan Plays • William Schwenk Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

... promised. As, if I sell a calf, I may not object to his removal because, forsooth, some portion of earth from my land clingeth to his hoofs. So blood is included in the word 'flesh' where 'twere impossible to deliver the flesh without some blood. As for that quibble of nor more nor less, why, 'tis the debtor's place to deliver his promise. If he himself cut off too much, he injures himself, if too little he hath not made ...
— The Panchronicon • Harold Steele Mackaye

... as mankind think fit to live, and do not take refuge in the simultaneous act of suicide recommended under certain conditions by Novalis. When, however, it is thus positively asserted to be impossible that human life should be happy, the assertion, if not something like a verbal quibble, is at least an exaggeration. If by happiness be meant a continuity of highly pleasurable excitement, it is evident enough that this is impossible. A state of exalted pleasure lasts only moments, or in some cases, and with some intermissions, hours ...
— Utilitarianism • John Stuart Mill

... treatment. His answer was this—"He served the government faithfully and zealously, as a soldier; he advanced money for them upon some foreign station; but the government was ungrateful and ungenerous to him, and in consequence of some quibble, they have refused to repay him what he advanced on their account. He complained and remonstrated, he became importunate for justice, he was considered troublesome, and for complaining they have sent him to prison, under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus ...
— Memoirs of Henry Hunt, Esq. Volume 1 • Henry Hunt

... iconoclasm, like a broken umbrella, hangs useless from one's hand. Tomorrow these people who are now asleep will be stirring, giving vent to outrageous ideas, championing incredulous banalities, prostrating themselves before imbecile superstitions. Tomorrow they will rise and begin forthwith to lie, quibble, cheat, steal, fourflush and kill, each and all inspired by the solacing monomania that every one of their words and gestures is a credible variant of perfection. Yes, tomorrow they will be as they ...
— A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago • Ben Hecht

... besides three bottles of brandy. My baron-bailie and doer, Mr. Duncan Macwheeble, is the fourth on our list. There is a question, owing to the incertitude of ancient orthography, whether he belongs to the clan of Wheedle or of Quibble, but both have produced persons ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... Variorum. There has been much editing, much comment, but singularly little criticism of Shakespeare; a half-pennyworth of bread to an intolerable deal of sack. The pendulum has swung violently from niggling and insensitive textual quibble to that equally distressing exercise of human ingenuity, idealistic encomium, of which there is a typical example in the opening sentence of Mr Masefield's remarks upon the play: 'Like the best Shakespearean tragedies, King John is an intellectual form in which a number of people with ...
— Aspects of Literature • J. Middleton Murry

... evidently inspired by Paul's quibble, "If the dead rise not from the grave, then is our religion vain." Lincoln once referred to this kind of reasoning by saying, "I object to the assumption that my ambition is to have my son marry a negress, simply because ...
— Little Journeys To The Homes Of Great Teachers • Elbert Hubbard

... kind of creature always go through the same stages? If the germ of any animal now living is, in its simplest state, but part of the personal identity of one of the original germs of all life whatsoever, and hence, if any now living organism must be considered without quibble as being itself millions of years old, and as imbued with an intense though unconscious memory of all that it has done sufficiently often to have made a permanent impression; if this be so, we can answer the above questions perfectly well. The creature ...
— Form and Function - A Contribution to the History of Animal Morphology • E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

... love Roy Glenister?" His voice, like his manner, was jealously eager, and he watched her carefully as she replied, without quibble or deceit: ...
— The Spoilers • Rex Beach

... capacity of judging, into three classes (he might have said the same of writers, too, if he had pleased). In the lowest form he places those whom he calls les petits esprits—such things as are our upper-gallery audience in a playhouse, who like nothing but the husk and rind of wit; prefer a quibble, a conceit, an epigram, before solid sense and elegant expression. These are mob-readers. If Virgil and Martial steed for Parliament-men, we know already who would carry it. But though they make the greatest ...
— Discourses on Satire and Epic Poetry • John Dryden

... knowledge of the foundation of all men's lives and properties, they have reduced all mankind into the most abject and servile dependence. We are tenants at the will of these gentlemen for everything; and a metaphysical quibble is to decide whether the greatest villain breathing shall meet his deserts, or escape with impunity, or whether the best man in the society shall not be reduced to the lowest and most despicable condition ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. I. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... a quibble," answered Aubrey, loftily. "For any gentleman to soil his fingers with craft is a blot on his escocheon, and that you know as ...
— It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot • Emily Sarah Holt

... taken in guarded litters to the sea- coast and shipped to Ireland or to Cadiz, Valencia, Alexandria or Morocco with no difficulty whatever unless some one got wind of the fact. As for the Irish King, a man who had the sort of record he had, was not likely to quibble over the means used by Biterres in getting himself a bride. And before the captives within the castle could reach even the nearest of their friends and bring help, the whole troop would have ...
— Masters of the Guild • L. Lamprey

... and over again during the ten years in which I represented her claims to the Allen estate; but her principles were immovable as the hills. Once, I shall never forget the incident—I pressed her to adopt a certain course of procedure, involving a law quibble, in order to get possession of the property. She looked at me for a moment or two, with a flushing face. Then her countenance grew serene, almost heavenly, and she gave me this memorable reply—'Mr. Wallingford, I have a richer estate than this in expectancy, and ...
— The Allen House - or Twenty Years Ago and Now • T. S. Arthur

... professedly Roman Catholic. The influence of the priesthood, however, owing to various causes, seems to be on the wane, and a habit of abandoning all religious thought is much on the increase. But the realization that our people never attack any Church, or quibble about details of creed and ceremonial, has won their way to the hearts of many, and there can be no doubt that we have a great future amongst these peoples. In Peru the law does not allow any persons not of the Romish Church to offer prayer in ...
— Regeneration • H. Rider Haggard

... We must fight; and no longer over trifles; we cannot now break each other's heads over a quibble, or believe that the whole world hangs on the question whether the instant of death is the last minute of this life or the first of the next. No—what now remains to be decided is whether the old gods shall be ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... so bad as your fears have represented him; it is true that he is Bury'd, altho' he is not dead; to understand this quibble you must know that he is at Bury St. Edmunds, relaxing, after the fatigues of lecturing and Londonizing. The little Rickmaness, whom you enquire after so kindly, thrives and grows apace; she is already a prattler, and 'tis thought that on ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 5 • Edited by E. V. Lucas

... the jus primae noctis. Dr. Karl Schmidt has tried very hard to prove that such a "right" to the bride never existed. But no one can read his treatises without noting that his argument rests on a mere quibble, the word jus. There may have been no codified law or "right" allowing kings, bishops, chiefs, landlords, medicine men, and priests to claim brides first, but that the privilege existed in various countries and was extensively made use of, there can be no doubt. Westermarck (73-80), Letourneau ...
— Primitive Love and Love-Stories • Henry Theophilus Finck

... this passage smacks rather of Proclus, than of Euripides, and I agree with him that its spuriousness is more than probable. Had Euripides designed an etymological quibble, he would probably have made some allusion to Merus, a mountain of India, where Bacchus is said to have been brought up. See Curtius, viii. 10. "Sita est sub radicibus montis, quem Meron incolae appellant. Inde Graeci mentiendi traxere licentiam, ...
— The Tragedies of Euripides, Volume I. • Euripides

... in my face. 'How so?' it queried. 'You used to quibble me upon my dull wits; must I now return the compliment? Ha! There's blood on your hands. Blood! I will lick it up.' And with ...
— Animal Ghosts - Or, Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter • Elliott O'Donnell

... Idaho. Their leaders, Moyer and Haywood, were anarchists like themselves, and although they professed contempt for law, as soon as they were arrested and brought up for trial, they clutched at every quibble of the law, as drowning men clutch at straws to save them; and, be it said to the glory or shame of the law, it furnished enough quibbles, not only to save them from the gallows, but to let them loose again on society with the legal whitewash ...
— Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography, • William Roscoe Thayer

... early gray had his mules packed. He looked once again towards Tucson, and took the road he had promised not to take, leaving the guitar behind him altogether. His faith protested a little, but the other self invented a quibble, the mockery that he had already "come by Tucson," according to his literal word; and this device answered. It is a comfort to be divided no longer against one's self. Genesmere was at ease in his thraldom to the demon with whom he had wrestled through the ...
— Red Men and White • Owen Wister

... it. I do not see any difference between reading a book in manuscript or in print. I don't pretend to quibble on a point like that. After looking at it, I felt that it was desirable I should read the whole. You may remember, Hester, that I showed you my Modern Dissent. If I did not make ...
— Red Pottage • Mary Cholmondeley

... claim anybody's lying, but they can claim self-deception. You make a statement you believe, true or false, and the veridicator'll back you up on it. They'll attack qualifications on expert testimony. They'll quibble about statements of fact and statements of opinion. And what they can't exclude or attack, they'll accept, and then deny that it's proof ...
— Little Fuzzy • Henry Beam Piper

... meant her playful retort as a mere light-hearted quibble. It annoyed her, a young person of much consequence, to have her kindly ...
— The Wings of the Morning • Louis Tracy

... marry her. That he should afterwards deny it officially seems to me to have been utterly inevitable. His denial did her not the faintest damage, as I have pointed out. It was, so to speak, an official quibble, rendered necessary by the circumstances of the case. Not to have denied the marriage in the House of Commons would have meant ruin to both of them. As months passed, more serious difficulties awaited the unhappily wedded pair. ...
— The Works of Max Beerbohm • Max Beerbohm

... capable of entering into a disquisition upon dialectics, as I believe you call it; but I do not believe the language I employed bears any such construction as Judge Douglas puts upon it. But I don't care about a quibble in regard to words. I know what I meant, and I will not leave this crowd in doubt, if I can explain it to them, what I really meant in the use of ...
— The American Mind - The E. T. Earl Lectures • Bliss Perry

... sir?" the gruffer fellow on the big bay questioned with some heat. I made no quibble ...
— The Black Wolf's Breed - A Story of France in the Old World and the New, happening - in the Reign of Louis XIV • Harris Dickson

... here and quibble; you're too clever altogether," I said, and I got up and wondered in which direction there was most to do, but Nina stood up, too, and put her hand through ...
— Godfrey Marten, Undergraduate • Charles Turley

... thought quite justifiable. But they don't hold good if we are to be brought into conflict with the police. Mr. Duclos told me this morning that if we were driven to speak we must do so with complete honesty and without quibble. What ...
— The Mystery of the Hasty Arrow • Anna Katharine Green

... contains a quibble on 'rests' and 'restless' discord. 'Nimble notes' was used in the Shakespearian time as we should use the term 'brilliant music.' Lucrece was in no humour for trills and runs, but rather for Dumps, where she could keep slow time with her tears. The Dumpe (from Swedish Dialect, ...
— Shakespeare and Music - With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries • Edward W. Naylor

... Essex, in the year 1738, that three horses (and no more than three) started for a L10 plate, and they were all three distanced the first heat, according to the common rules in horse-racing, without any quibble or equivocation; and the following was the solution:—The first horse ran on the inside of the post; the second wanted weight; and the third fell and broke ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume II (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... London. Doth the post dabble into our letters? Whatever agreement you make with Murray, if satisfactory to you, must be so to me. There need be no scruple, because, though I used sometimes to buffoon to myself, loving a quibble as well as the barbarian himself (Shakspeare, to wit)—'that, like a Spartan, I would sell my life as dearly as possible'—it never was my intention to turn it to personal, pecuniary account, but to bequeath it to a friend—yourself—in the event of survivorship. I anticipated ...
— Life of Lord Byron, With His Letters And Journals, Vol. 5 (of 6) • (Lord Byron) George Gordon Byron

... on these United States without a good cause," he declared vehemently, "I'd fight for my country—" Uncle Dyke didn't quibble his words. "That is to say if Uncle Sam would take me. Me and my sword!" Again he faltered, adding reflectively, "But after all the Bible is the better weapon. With it I ...
— Blue Ridge Country • Jean Thomas

... diminish, reduce, abate, curtail, moderate, mitigate, palliate. Lie (noun), untruth, falsehood, falsity, fiction, fabrication, mendacity, canard, fib, story. Lie (verb), prevaricate, falsify, equivocate, quibble, shuffle, dodge, fence, fib. Likeness, resemblance, similitude, similarity, semblance, analogy. Limp, flaccid, flabby, flimsy. List, roll, catalogue, register, roster, schedule, inventory. Loud, resonant, clarion, stentorian, ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... most endeared doctrines of our faith, and applied its enginery to those very parts of our citadel which we would be most likely to defend the longest. Had it contented itself with the mere discussion of minor points, with here and there a quibble about a miracle or a prophecy, we could excuse many of its vagaries on the score of enthusiasm. But its premiss was, "We will accept nothing between the two lids of this Book if our Reason cannot fathom ...
— History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology • John F. Hurst

... Mackintosh's dinner some time back), on Ward, who was asking 'how much it would take to re-whig him?' I answered that, probably, 'he must first, before he was re-whigged, be re-warded.' This foolish quibble, before the Stael and Mackintosh, and a number of conversationers, has been mouthed about, and at last settled on the head of * *, ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. II - With His Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... I should say yes without a quibble," replied Fenton, "but your air is so serious that I do not dare run the risk; so I will merely answer,—I would like to do you ...
— The Pagans • Arlo Bates

... formula (arid as the definitions of the medieval schoolmen), some academic shibboleth about being free men and not being forced to work except for a wage accepted by them. Just in the same way the Israelites in Egypt employed some dry scholastic quibble about the extreme difficulty of making bricks with nothing to make them of. But whatever fantastic intellectual excuses they may have put forward for their strange and unnatural conduct in walking out when the prison door was open, there can be no doubt that the ...
— A Miscellany of Men • G. K. Chesterton

... should soon be at the bottom of the Thames. How the foul fiend can it interest the peasants and mechanics in the Strand, to know that the Earl of Huntinglen is sitting down to dinner? But my father looks our way—we must not be late for the grace, or we shall be in DIS-grace, if you will forgive a quibble which would have made his Majesty laugh. You will find us all of a piece, and, having been accustomed to eat in saucers abroad, I am ashamed you should witness our larded capons, our mountains of beef, and oceans of brewis, as large as Highland hills and lochs; but you shall ...
— The Fortunes of Nigel • Sir Walter Scott

... spend so much time in the refutation of it. To discern its fallaciousness, requires not acuteness of understanding, so much as a little common honesty. "There is indeed no surer mark of a false and hollow heart, than a disposition thus to quibble away the clear injunctions of duty and conscience[81]:" It is the wretched resource of a disingenuous mind, endeavouring to escape from convictions before which it cannot stand, and to evade obligations ...
— A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. • William Wilberforce

... BLACKBOROUGH. That's a quibble. [Poor HORSHAM gasps.] I'm not going to pretend either now or in a month's time that I think Trebell anything but a most dangerous acquisition to the party. I pay you a compliment in that, Trebell. Now, Horsham proposes that we should go to the ...
— Waste - A Tragedy, In Four Acts • Granville Barker

... cousin, the daughter of Charles Stuart, fifth Earl of Lennox, Darnley's elder brother. Her father had died in 1576, soon after her birth. About 1588 she had come up to London to be presented to Elizabeth, and on that occasion had amused Raleigh with her gay accomplishments. The legal quibble on which her claim was founded was the fact that she was born in England, whereas James as a Scotchman was supposed to be excluded. Arabella was no pretender; her descent from Margaret, the sister of Henry VIII., was complete, and if James had died childless ...
— Raleigh • Edmund Gosse

... on the idea that they were required merely for home defence, and no one had yet thought of the equivocation that home defence included that of India, Egypt, Belgium, and France, or offence in Mesopotamia and the Dardanelles. There was no need for the Government to rely on that quibble, for the Territorials volunteered almost in mass for foreign service, and the difficulty was to impress Lord Kitchener with the value of a force with which his absence in the East had made him unfamiliar. As it was, some of the best of the regiments, like the London Scottish, put ...
— A Short History of the Great War • A.F. Pollard

... themselves pamphlets and not newspapers, because they only commented upon the news of the day, to be henceforth liable to the stamp duties. This really did good service to the better class of journals, by sweeping away a swarm of newspapers which, by the quibble above mentioned, were enabled to ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 6, No 2, August, 1864 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... not far wrong. He thought that Ziska was endeavouring to deceive him in the spirit of what he said, but that as regarded the letter, the young man was endeavouring to adhere to some fact for the salvation of his conscience as a Christian. If Anton Trendellsohn could but find out in what lay the quibble, the discovery might be very serviceable to him. "It could have been managed—could it?" he said, speaking very slowly. "Between you ...
— Nina Balatka • Anthony Trollope

... it—and that therefore Mr. Stephens's declaration amounts substantially to saying that slavery was to be the corner stone of his new Government; and so your assertion, that 'he has made no such declaration,' is a paltry verbal quibble, unworthy of a ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 5, November, 1863 • Various

... dint of talking of eternity she might perpetuate his love in this world and the next. For her own sake, it must be believed that no man had touched her heart, or her conduct would be inexcusable. She was young; the time when men and women feel that they cannot afford to lose time or to quibble over their joys was still far off. She, no doubt, was on the verge not of first love, but of her first experience of the bliss of love. And from inexperience, for want of the painful lessons which would have taught her to value the treasure poured out at ...
— The Thirteen • Honore de Balzac

... because a Man writ them, and they may hear that from them they blush at from a Woman—But I make a Challenge to any Person of common Sense and Reason—that is not wilfully bent on ill Nature, and will in spight of Sense wrest a double Entendre from every thing, lying upon the Catch for a Jest or a Quibble, like a Rook for a Cully; but any unprejudic'd Person that knows not the Author, to read any of my Comedys and compare 'em with others of this Age, and if they find one Word that can offend the chastest ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn, Vol. III • Aphra Behn

... carried the war into the enemy's camp, the terrified lady breathed again. And no doubt it is easy thus to circumvent a child with catchwords, but it may be questioned how far it is effectual. An instinct in his breast detects the quibble, and a voice condemns it. He will instantly submit, privately hold the same opinion. For even in this simple and antique relation of the mother and the child, ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XIX (of 25) - The Ebb-Tide; Weir of Hermiston • Robert Louis Stevenson

... of your senses?" I demanded, assuming an indignation I did not feel. "Dr. Pettit was saying nothing to me that could possibly interest you." I felt a little twinge of conscience at the fib, but I had too much at stake to hesitate over a quibble. "As for casting sheep's eyes, as you so elegantly express it, you've been doing so much of it yourself that I suppose it is natural for you to ...
— Revelations of a Wife - The Story of a Honeymoon • Adele Garrison

... me, if I guess it? Why do you quibble now? Give me your Word, or I'll never let you alone till I have ...
— Colloquies of Erasmus, Volume I. • Erasmus

... judging, into three classes." [He might have said the same of writers too if he had pleased.] "In the lowest form he places those whom he calls Les Petits Esprits, such things as our upper-gallery audience in a playhouse, who like nothing but the husk and rind of wit, and prefer a quibble, a conceit, an epigram, before solid sense and elegant expression. These are mob readers. If Virgil and Martial stood for Parliament-men, we know already who would carry it. But though they made the greatest appearance in the ...
— Essays and Tales • Joseph Addison

... anything to us, in so far as it brings, in Nonconformist cant, "a message," it is immoral and vicious, just as in so far as "Siegfried" carries a message it is entirely moral, healthful, and sane. It is useless to quibble about this, seeking to explain away plain things: the truth remains that "Siegfried" is a glorification of one view of life, "Parsifal" of its direct opposite and flat contradiction; and anyone who accepts the one view must needs ...
— Old Scores and New Readings • John F. Runciman

... who, from his slender neck, shrillness of voice, and his ever-ready quibble and laugh at himself, was for some time taken for a lawyer, with which folk the Buildings were then, as now, much infested. But on careful inquiry he turned out to be a patent-medicine seller, who at leisure ...
— Old and New London - Volume I • Walter Thornbury

... give me a ream of paper: we'll have a kingdom of gold for't: A quibble. REALM was frequently written ream; and frequently (as the following passages shew), even when the former spelling was given, ...
— The Jew of Malta • Christopher Marlowe

... establishment of a special Divorce Court, yet declared that the new court was "tending to destroy marriage as a social institution and to sap female chastity," and that "everyone now is a husband and wife at will." "No one," he adds, "can now justly quibble at a ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... "Don't quibble with me, sir. I saw, if I did not hear. You passed Miss Wayne a note. I am astonished!" she said, in the tone ...
— Little Miss Grouch - A Narrative Based on the Log of Alexander Forsyth Smith's - Maiden Transatlantic Voyage • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... Convention have excited such indignation. For the French, by so acting, could not deem themselves breaking an engagement; no doubt they looked upon themselves as injured,—that the failure in good faith was on the part of the British; and that it was in the lawlessness of power, and by a mere quibble, that this construction was afterwards put upon ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... of the young Frenchman flush, but De Galissonniere, as if knowing the truth, and resolved not to quibble over it, climbed steadily. When he was within twenty feet of the crest the hunter called to him to halt, and he did so, leaning easily against a strong bush, while the three waited eagerly to hear what he ...
— The Masters of the Peaks - A Story of the Great North Woods • Joseph A. Altsheler

... Exhortation to the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, published in 1530, he says: "If the Papists do, as usual, quibble at my language, and boast that I myself here make a sacrifice in the sacrament, although I have hitherto contended that the mass is no sacrifice; then you shall answer thus: I make neither the mass nor the sacrament a sacrifice, ("Ich mache weder Messe noch Sacrament ...
— American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics • Samuel Simon Schmucker

... language, that falsifies his blow and hits where he did not aim. He has a foolish sleight of wit that catches at words only and lets the sense go, like the young thief in the farce that took a purse, but gave the owner his money back again. He is so well versed in all cases of quibble, that he knows when there will be a blot upon a word as soon as it is out. He packs his quibbles like a stock of cards; let him but shuffle, and cut where you will, he will be sure to have it. He dances on a rope of sand, does the somersault, strappado, and half-strappado ...
— Character Writings of the 17th Century • Various

... brothers, Gunnar appears only in a contemptible light: he gains his bride by treachery, and keeps his oath to Sigurd by a quibble. Hoegni, who has little but his name in common with Hagen von Tronje of the Nibelungen Lied, advises Gunnar against breaking his oath, but it is he who taunts Gudrun afterwards. The later poems of the cycle try to make heroes out of ...
— The Edda, Vol. 2 - The Heroic Mythology of the North, Popular Studies in Mythology, - Romance, and Folklore, No. 13 • Winifred Faraday

... process of Darwin's survival of the fittest. All this is now "too late to mend:" but I do hope that if ever I go to Engelfield Castle, Sir Richard will be kindly and genial to his far-off cousin, who (but for some legal quibble ...
— My Life as an Author • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... intelligent self-control and kindly adaptation. Mere codes of rules, whether at home or at school, set the children at work, with all their sharp, unregenerate little wits, to pick flaws, draw distinctions, and quibble on interpretations. They become abominably shrewd in a degrading, casuistical strict-constructionism. In spite of everything, the little, cunning, irresponsible, non-moral beings will be successfully appealing to the letter of the law against the ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 108, October, 1866 • Various

... divinity-student, what had been going on. It appears that the young fellow whom they call John had taken advantage of my being a little late (I having been rather longer than usual dressing that morning) to circulate several questions involving a quibble or play upon words,—in short, containing that indignity to the human understanding, condemned in the passages from the distinguished moralist of the last century and the illustrious historian of the present, which I cited on a former occasion, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 11, September, 1858 • Various

... lie on a couch in a back room at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston, at a very early hour, and amuse the boys who were sweeping and dusting the store until one of the partners arrived. I believe he never lost a chance to indulge in a verbal quibble. "In the meantime, and 'twill be a very ...
— Memories and Anecdotes • Kate Sanborn

... As to your quibble about Paul and Apollos, whether they, or others, were the persons, though I am satisfied you are out, yet it weakeneth not my argument; for if they were blame worthy for dividing, though about the highest fundamental principles, ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... as he would have him: The meaning of this was, that he would seize the Ship as fair Prize, and as if she belonged to French Subjects, according to a commission he had for that purpose; tho', one would think, after what he had already done, that he need not have recourse to a quibble to give his ...
— Pirates • Anonymous

... the old man, harkening, it seemed that her words fell sharp and brittle like breaking icicles. One thing, though, might be said for her—she sought no roundabout course. She did not quibble or seek to enwrap the main issue in specious excuses ...
— Sundry Accounts • Irvin S. Cobb

... in hopeless despair. The major was too enthusiastic to quibble over how the knowledge was gained. It was there in overflowing abundance. That was enough. Besides, his nephew's word was his bond. He would as soon think of doubting ...
— Garrison's Finish - A Romance of the Race-Course • W. B. M. Ferguson

... and he leaves you with his own notion of a private and distinguished appreciation of nature. In this sense he leads one to Renoir's way of considering nature which was the pleasure in nature for itself. It was all too fine an adventure to quibble about. ...
— Adventures in the Arts - Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets • Marsden Hartley

... from his seat and beginning to walk up and down the plainly furnished, book-lined common-room, "the question is what He intended, and surely no Christian in his senses could believe for a moment that our Lord intended to quibble with words and to play with double meanings. If He did not mean what He said, and intend those who followed Him to do what He said, what becomes of our faith? If that is not so, surely there is nothing left for us but to give up the doctrine of the Trinity ...
— The Missionary • George Griffith

... do not attempt any quibble. The circumstances under which these articles were found place them sufficiently in your possession. What have you to say that ...
— Dave Darrin's First Year at Annapolis • H. Irving Hancock

... added his plea to theirs. But Benjamin Franklin and his colleagues refused to agree to this formula. They took the ground that they, as the representatives merely of the Continental Congress, had not the right to bind the individual states in such a matter. The argument was a quibble. Their real reason was that they were well aware that public opinion in America would not support them in such a concession. A few enlightened men in America, such as John Adams, favoured a policy of compensation to the Loyalists, ...
— The United Empire Loyalists - A Chronicle of the Great Migration - Volume 13 (of 32) in the series Chronicles of Canada • W. Stewart Wallace

... signifies a rapid stream, is much more impossible. Besides, if he goes to quibble, and say that it is possible by art water may be made return, and the same water run twice in one and the same channel: then he quite confutes what he says; for it is by being opposed, that it runs into its former course; for all engines that make water so return, ...
— Lives of the Poets, Vol. 1 • Samuel Johnson

... who died a week after his birth. Then Philip V. seized the crown, his lawyers asserting that, according to the Salic law, 'no part of the heritage of Salic land can fall to a woman,' and that therefore no woman could rule in France. As a matter of fact this was a mere quibble of the lawyers. The Salic law had been the law of the Salian Franks in the fifth century, and had to do with the inheritance of estates, not with the inheritance of the throne of France, which ...
— A Student's History of England, v. 1 (of 3) - From the earliest times to the Death of King Edward VII • Samuel Rawson Gardiner

... bestowing many sorrowful thoughts upon the simple warriors whose hands and hearts were set there, in all truth and honesty; and who only learned in course of time from white men how to break their faith, and quibble out of forms and bonds. I wonder, too, how many times the credulous Big Turtle, or trusting Little Hatchet, had put his mark to treaties which were falsely read to him; and had signed away, he knew not what, until it went and ...
— American Notes for General Circulation • Charles Dickens

... replied Mr. Campbell, heartily. "And now to come to the material, or (to make a quibble) to the immaterial. I have here a little packet which contains four things." He tugged it, as he spoke, and with some great difficulty, from the skirt pocket of his coat. "Of these four things, the first is your ...
— Kidnapped • Robert Louis Stevenson

... was a bucketful; hence his first go at the now uncovered pots. So heated grew the debate, that finally the grimy excavators climbed to the upper air and appealed to Mayhew, who promptly denied the quibble, deciding that stones and pots were not interchangeable. The diversion drew attention from the great perforated disc itself, and as the sullen Cleghorn let the exultant Webb down upon the ancient pots, it lay badly bestowed near the curb on the crumbling ...
— The Collectors • Frank Jewett Mather

... not the principle that was objected to, but only the form, where are we? We can do nothing else but assume that the German Government objected to the terms employed by Sir Edward Grey, and that for the sake of a mere quibble they wasted time until other events made the catastrophe inevitable. Impartiality will have to judge whether such action was deliberate or not; whether in this case also it is crime or folly which has to be laid at the ...
— Why We Are At War (2nd Edition, revised) • Members of the Oxford Faculty of Modern History

... is enough. There are too many others behind them waiting to get their noses in the trough. Go into your respective wards and districts and organize meetings. Call your particular alderman before you. Don't let him evade you or quibble or stand on his rights as a private citizen or a public officer. Threaten—don't cajole. Soft or kind words won't go with that type of man. Threaten, and when you have managed to extract a promise be on hand with ropes to see that he keeps his word. I don't like to advise ...
— The Titan • Theodore Dreiser

... said. "Put the whole thing on the expense account. You don't think I'm going to quibble about a few dollars, ...
— That Sweet Little Old Lady • Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA Mark Phillips)

... rather angrily, "that you were going to quibble. Of course, the case is quite different. A vote is a sacred thing; and it ought not to be exchanged for the satisfaction of mere bodily desires, such as ...
— The Casual Ward - academic and other oddments • A. D. Godley

... his front. It was the object of Howe to tempt the American general to quit this position; and having failed in various expedients, on the 19th of June he ordered his main body to retire to Amboy. This succeeded. Washington abandoned what had cost him so much trouble to create, and advanced to Quibble Town. The mass of the British troops now moved back by different routes, in order to get on the American general's flank and rear, and by intervening between him and the hills, to force him to a conflict on open ground. Lord ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... judging, into three Classes. [He might have said the same of Writers too, if he had pleased.] In the lowest Form he places those whom he calls Les Petits Esprits, such thingsas are our Upper-Gallery Audience in a Play-house; who like nothing but the Husk and Rind of Wit, prefer a Quibble, a Conceit, an Epigram, before solid Sense and elegant Expression: These are Mob Readers. If Virgil and Martial stood for Parliament-Men, we know already who would carry it. But though they make the greatest Appearance in ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... Leod, Lud, or Luyd, which, he says, means "folk or people." [23] Therefore St. Leger seems to signify a folk, a gathering, a legion or "crew" of saints, a holy crowd or crew,—which may have been the quibble extorted by Spenser's "alchemy of wit" from the "upbringing" of Elizabeth Nagle, his wife. He calls her with marked emphasis his "sweet Saint," his "sovereign Saint"; and in the "Epithalamion" the temple-gates ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II., November, 1858., No. XIII. • Various

... reiterated from day to day it wore on his nerves after a while. Added to the something he sometimes thought he caught glimmering in her tip-tilted eyes, it made him more than a little uncomfortable. He fell back upon a quibble ...
— Once to Every Man • Larry Evans

... penetration; nuances. dope [Slang], past performances. V. discriminate, distinguish, severalize^; recognize, match, identify; separate; draw the line, sift; separate the chaff from the wheat, winnow the chaff from the wheat; separate the men from the boys; split hairs, draw a fine line, nitpick, quibble. estimate &c (measure) 466; know which is which, know what is what, know 'a hawk from a handsaw' [Hamlet]. take into account, take into consideration; give due weight to, allow due weight to; weigh carefully. ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... to Homer Crawford. "I'm not here to quibble with self-confessed malcontents. I've been sent to represent the State Department, to report to them, and, above all, to do what I can to prevent your activities from redounding to the further advantage of the Soviet Complex. I assume you can ...
— Border, Breed Nor Birth • Dallas McCord Reynolds

... Johnston's claim on which was founded this malignant clique in Richmond was the merest quibble about the date of his commission to the rank of full general. Because its date was later than that of Robert E. Lee he ...
— The Victim - A romance of the Real Jefferson Davis • Thomas Dixon

... squarely into the priest's eyes. Dissimulation, hypocrisy, quibble, cant—nothing but fearless truth could meet ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... doing right is very painful; especially so because most women who are under this strain do not really care about doing right at all. I have seen a woman quibble and talk and worry about what she believed to be a matter of right and wrong in a few cents, and then neglect for months to pay a poor man a certain large amount of money which he had honestly earned, and which she ...
— Nerves and Common Sense • Annie Payson Call

... it would prove that riddle read, which uncreate omniscience propounded for the baffling of the creature mind. No. It is far more reasonable, as well as far more reverent, to acquiesce in Mystery, as another attribute inseparable from the nature of the Godhead; than to quibble about numerical puzzles, and indulge unwisely in objections which it is the happy state of nobler intelligences than man on earth is, to look into with desire, and to exercise withal their keen and ...
— The Complete Prose Works of Martin Farquhar Tupper • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... evolving to-day? Is man the last word of evolution? These are amongst the commonest questions put to me. Whether man is or is not the last word of evolution is merely a verbal quibble. Now that language is invented, and things have names, one may say that the name "man" will cling to the highest and most progressive animal on earth, no matter how much he may rise above the man of to-day. But if the question ...
— The Story of Evolution • Joseph McCabe

... his poll. "Noa!" he repeated in a lower note; and then, while a sombre grin betokening idiotic enjoyment of his profound casuistical quibble worked at ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... I went on, speaking as slowly and precisely as I could, as though deliberation in speech might in some way make clearer a matter recognized as only too dark in spirit. "And it must be answered honestly, without any quibble as to the meaning of words. Were you in ...
— The Prairie Mother • Arthur Stringer

... qualifications; and he imagines that all admire who applaud, and that all who laugh are pleased. He therefore returns every day to the charge with increase of courage, though not of strength, and practises all the tricks by which wit is counterfeited. He lays trains for a quibble; he contrives blunders for his footman; he adapts old stories to present characters; he mistakes the question, that he may return a smart answer; he anticipates the argument, that he may plausibly object; ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson - Volume IV [The Rambler and The Adventurer] • Samuel Johnson

... a quibble. I speak for her, yes, my dear sir. Her action in defiance of her family and her friends proved the strength of what she felt for the man she married; that she have remained with him three years—until it was impossible—proved its persistence; her letters, which I read with reverence, ...
— The Guest of Quesnay • Booth Tarkington

... they come, and the main road of the task is marked out; shock is minimized, if not eliminated, mutual confidence is engendered, and a priceless reward may be won. But if at that first question we falter, quibble, blush, lie, jest, or repel, we have entered the wrong road which leads eternally astray. Let no question ever be either ignored or neglected, least of all repelled. It is the golden opportunity for parent, teacher, or friend. To guarantee against the ...
— The Social Emergency - Studies in Sex Hygiene and Morals • Various

... is a reproach to any Christian establishment if every man cannot claim the benefit of it who can say that he believes in the religion of Jesus Christ as it is set forth in the New Testament. You say the terms are so general that even Deists would quibble and insinuate themselves. I answer that all the articles which are subscribed at present by no means exclude Deists who will prevaricate; and upon this scheme you would at least exclude ...
— Science & Education • Thomas H. Huxley

... off, but Lord Lick-my-loof himself, out for his morning walk! His irritable cantankerous nature would have been annoyed at sight of anyone treating his gate with such disrespect, but when he saw who it was that thus made nothing of it—clearing it with as much contempt as a lawyer would a quibble not his own—his displeasure ...
— Warlock o' Glenwarlock • George MacDonald

... no doubt. Some day the cunning old scoundrel, when he can squeeze no more interest out of us, will find a legal quibble ...
— After London - Wild England • Richard Jefferies

... shiver, so did James's. "Well, well—you quibble. I dare say Urquhart has fifteen thousand a year, and even you will know that ...
— Love and Lucy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... they have revolted solely because of "this cruel, unjust, and most tyrannical murder, intended against towns and multitudes." As if they had not revolted already! Their pretext seems to mean that they do not want to alter the sovereign authority, a quibble which they issued for several months, long after it was obviously false. They also wrote to the nobles, to the French officers in the Regent's service, and to ...
— John Knox and the Reformation • Andrew Lang

... in England to "give no credit to such malicious aspersions, but be more ready to answer for us than we hear they have been." Dudley's own words are given in note.[51] The only escape from the admission of Dudley's statements being utterly untrue is resort to a quibble which is inconsistent with candour and honesty—namely, that the Brownist or Congregational worship had been adopted by Endicot and his party before the arrival of Dudley; but the scope and evident design of his letter was to assure the Countess of Lincoln and his friends in England ...
— The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 1 of 2 - From 1620-1816 • Egerton Ryerson

... [The Annual Report of the Examiners in Physiology under the Science and Art Department, which, being still an Examiner he had to sign.] and have nothing to suggest except a quibble at page 4. If you take a stick in your hand you may feel lots of things and determine their form, etc., with the other end of it, but surely the stick is properly said to be insensible. Ditto with the teeth. I feel very well with mine (which are paid for) but they are surely ...
— The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Volume 2 • Leonard Huxley

... wars since the Revolution, and three insurrections, not counting the riots and strikes at Chicago, Homestead, Brooklyn, and in the mountains in the West. Dr. Jacobi said in an article in the "New York Sun," two years ago, "We do not vote for war." That appears like a quibble, for we vote for what brings, or may bring it; but neither is it exact in fact. Three times, at least, in our history men have deposited their ballots in the box, knowing that the result meant peace or war. These were at the second election ...
— Woman and the Republic • Helen Kendrick Johnson

... don't quibble. And hidden things are so dangerous. It isn't as if I would not understand. You ought to give me credit for a little knowledge of human nature. I knew perfectly well that when you married me—you would think of Mary. You ...
— The Window-Gazer • Isabel Ecclestone Mackay

... pounds of flour, had been standing for a couple of hours, and in the intense cold (it was sixty below zero) the runners had frozen fast to the hard-packed snow. Men offered odds of two to one that Buck could not budge the sled. A quibble 5 arose concerning the phrase "break out." O'Brien contended it was Thornton's privilege to knock the runners loose, leaving Buck to "break it out" from a dead standstill. Matthewson insisted that the phrase included breaking the ...
— Story Hour Readings: Seventh Year • E.C. Hartwell

... to entertain me. And I, what can I call myself—pure reason? No, a disgusting title. Rather, Unreason, since I am after all the Indifferent One. But all this is a quibble inspired by modesty. I am God. I am that which men have worshipped—the aloof one, the pitiless and ...
— Fantazius Mallare - A Mysterious Oath • Ben Hecht



Words linked to "Quibble" :   hedge, brabble, parry, fudge, argue, contend, debate, put off, elude, evade, fence, evasion, sidestep, dodge, skirt, circumvent, equivocation, duck



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