quiddity

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n quiddity the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
    • n quiddity an evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Quiddity A trifling nicety; a cavil; a quibble. "We laugh at the quiddities of those writers now."
    • Quiddity The essence, nature, or distinctive peculiarity, of a thing; that which answers the question, Quid est? or, What is it? "The degree of nullity and quiddity .""The quiddity or characteristic difference of poetry as distinguished from prose."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n quiddity In scholastic philos., that which distinguishes a thing from other things, and makes it what it is, and not another; substantial form; nature.
    • n quiddity A trifling nicety; a cavil; a quirk or quibble.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Quiddity kwid′i-ti the essence of anything: any trifling nicety: a cavil: a captious question
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
LL. quidditas, fr. L. quid, what, neut. of quis, who, akin to E. who,: cf. F. quiddité,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Low L. quidditas—L. quid, what.

Usage

In literature:

QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety.
"Volpone; Or, The Fox" by Ben Jonson
QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety.
"The Alchemist" by Ben Jonson
QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety.
"The Poetaster" by Ben Jonson
QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety.
"Sejanus: His Fall" by Ben Jonson
QUIDDIT, quiddity, legal subtlety.
"Every Man In His Humor" by Ben Jonson
Nature herself is MAYA; natural science must perforce deal with her ineluctable quiddity.
"Autobiography of a YOGI" by Paramhansa Yogananda
There you indeed appreciate the dead-alive city 'in all its quiddity.
"A Day's Tour" by Percy Fitzgerald
What but subtleties of the Scotists: quiddities, formalities, etc.!
"Erasmus and the Age of Reformation" by Johan Huizinga
He knew it well, and was cognizant with its every legal quiddity.
"Cousin Henry" by Anthony Trollope
Where then will be your gibes, your quips, your quiddities?
"A Pessimist" by Robert Timsol
The lawyer's clerk, whose name was Quiddity, also set about publishing the whole of the matter abroad.
"Forgotten Tales of Long Ago" by E. V. Lucas
He feared his own deficiencies in 'the forms, quirks and quiddities,' which he saw could be learned only by early habit.
"James Boswell" by William Keith Leask
It is not in man's power to define the quiddity of the elements, but a great many of their effects are known.
"Thoughts on Art and Life" by Leonardo da Vinci
It is not too much to say that Fitz, with all his quiddity, had become dear to us.
"Mrs. Fitz" by J. C. Snaith
In this region of the Porta Capuana one sees the people in what Charles Lamb would have called its quiddity.
"Naples Past and Present" by Arthur H. Norway
But in the midst of her quips and quiddities, she would sometimes break off to talk of Barbara.
"Barbara Lynn" by Emily J. Jenkinson
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In news:

Rembrandt's genius was his unparalleled ability to render a person's quiddity in a single portrait.
The public is invited to hear award-winning poets Allison Joseph and Jon Tribble at Quiddity's fifth anniversary celebration.
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