1. Marked by a disposition to find and point out trivial faults: a captious scholar.
2. Intended to entrap or confuse, as in an argument: a captious question.
[Middle English capcious, from Old French captieux, from Latin captiōsus, from captiō, seizure, sophism, from captus, past participle of capere, to seize; see kap- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.