scruples


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

scru·ple

 (skro͞o′pəl)
n.
1. An uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action: "He would have taken any life with as little scruple as he took my money" (Charles Dickens).
2. A unit of apothecary weight equal to about 1.3 grams, or 20 grains.
3. A minute part or amount.
intr.v. scru·pled, scru·pling, scru·ples
To hesitate as a result of conscience or principle: "A man who could make so vile a pun would not scruple to pick a pocket" (John Dennis).

[Middle English scrupul, from Old French scrupule, from Latin scrūpulus, small unit of measurement, scruple, diminutive of scrūpus, rough stone, scruple.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.scruples - motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actionsscruples - motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions
superego - (psychoanalysis) that part of the unconscious mind that acts as a conscience
ethical motive, ethics, morals, morality - motivation based on ideas of right and wrong
small voice, voice of conscience, wee small voice - an inner voice that judges your behavior
sense of duty, sense of shame - a motivating awareness of ethical responsibility
References in classic literature ?
It was too powerful for the conscientious scruples of the old bachelor; at whose death, accordingly, the mansion-house, together with most of his other riches, passed into the possession of his next legal representative.
The others resented postponement, but it was just his scruples that charmed me.
Though refusing, from conscientious scruples, to bear arms against land invaders, yet himself had illimitably invaded the Atlantic and Pacific; and though a sworn foe to human bloodshed, yet had he in his straight-bodied coat, spilled tuns upon tuns of leviathan gore.
It being my conviction that any Estab- lished Church is an established crime, an established slave-pen, I had no scruples, but was willing to assail it in any way or with any weapon that promised to hurt it.
Some scruples and some reluctance the widowerfather may be supposed to have felt; but as they were overcome by other considerations, the child was given up to the care and the wealth of the Churchills, and he had only his own comfort to seek, and his own situation to improve as he could.
I have no such scruples, and I am sure I could put up with every unpleasantness of that kind with very little effort.
And yet,' I interrupted, 'you have no scruples in completely ruining all hopes of her perfect restoration, by thrusting yourself into her remembrance now, when she has nearly forgotten you, and involving her in a new tumult of discord and distress.
Lecount -- I must have no unseasonable scruples to contend with on your part.
There was a murmur even among the attendants of Prince John; but De Bracy, whose profession freed him from all scruples, extended his long lance over the space which separated the gallery from the lists, and would have executed the commands of the Prince before Athelstane the Unready had recovered presence of mind sufficient even to draw back his person from the weapon, had not Cedric, as prompt as his companion was tardy, unsheathed, with the speed of lightning, the short sword which he wore, and at a single blow severed the point of the lance from the handle.
He had no conscientious scruples in his love-making, because he was unaccustomed to consider himself as likely to inspire love in women; and Gertrude did not know that her beauty gave to an hour spent alone with her a transient charm which few men of imagination and address could resist.
Thinking himself without the pale of humanity, he was restrained by no scruples and he employed his extraordinary gifts of dexterity and imagination, which he had received by way of compensation for his extraordinary uglinesss, to prey upon his fellow-men.
To which Don Quixote returned, "I know not what more there is to be said; I only guide myself by the example set me by the great Amadis of Gaul, when he made his squire count of the Insula Firme; and so, without any scruples of conscience, I can make a count of Sancho Panza, for he is one of the best squires that ever knight-errant had.