April 27, 2016
scruple (noun)
\SKROO-pul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a moral consideration or rule of conduct that makes one uneasy or makes action difficult2 : a sense of guilt felt when one does wrong
How do you use it?
"The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything." (E. B. White, _Charlotte's Web_)
Are you a word wiz?

The word "scruple" comes from the Latin word "scrupus." Remember that scruples prick your conscience, then answer this question. What does "scrupus" mean?

Having a sharp stone in your shoe can be painful enough to keep you from walking until you remove it. That fact was well known by the ancient Romans, who regularly wore sandals. "Scruple" comes from their Latin word "scrupus," which originally meant "a small sharp stone." The ancient Romans also used "scrupus" to refer to a feeling of uneasiness that might keep someone from doing something much in the same way that a sharp stone in the shoe might keep someone from walking. French speakers adopted "scrupus" as "scrupule," and English speakers picked up the word from them.
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