AskDefine | Define scruple

Dictionary Definition



1 a unit of apothecary weight equal to 20 grains
2 uneasiness about the fitness of an action [syn: qualm, misgiving]
3 an ethical or moral principle that inhibits action


1 hesitate on moral grounds; "The man scrupled to perjure himself"
2 raise scruples; "He lied and did not even scruple about it"
3 have doubts about

User Contributed Dictionary



scrupulus a small sharp or pointed stone, the twenty-fourth part of an ounce, a scruple, uneasiness, doubt, diminutive of scrupus a rough or sharp stone, anxiety, uneasiness; perhaps akin to the chippings of stone, a razor, kshura: confer scrupule.


scruple (plural: scruples)
  1. A weight of twenty grains; the third part of a dram.
  2. Hence, a very small quantity; a particle.
    I will not bate thee a scruple. Shak.
  3. Hesitation as to action from the difficulty of determining what is right or expedient; unwillingness, doubt, or hesitation proceeding from motives of conscience; to consider if something is ethical.
    He was made miserable by the conflict between his tastes and his scruples. -Macaulay.


  1. To be reluctant or to hesitate, as regards an action, on account of considerations of conscience or expedience.
    We are often over-precise, scrupling to say or do those things which lawfully we may. -Fuller.
    Men scruple at the lawfulness of a set form of divine worship. -South.
  2. To regard with suspicion; to hesitate at; to question.
    Others long before them ... scrupled more the books of hereties than of gentiles. -Milton.
  3. To excite scruples in; to cause to scruple.
    Letters which did still scruple many of them. -E. Symmons.

Extensive Definition

The word scruples or scruple can mean:

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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