Adjective "Scruple" definition and examples

(Scruple may not be an adjective, but it can be used as an adjective, click here to find out.)



Definitions and examples


A feeling of doubt or hesitation with regard to the morality or propriety of a course of action.
  1. mass noun 'without scruple, politicians use fear as a persuasion weapon'
  2. 'The social and ethical scruples thrown up by the science of new genetics are by now familiar.'
  3. 'Everywhere in the world they start the same way: young men with more ambition than opportunities, more greed than scruples, join the underworld.'
  4. 'Tilly was a good friend, but had no scruples about stealing your man, if she felt so inclined.'
  5. 'Or is it liberation from scruples that we desire?'
  6. 'Neither change has yet been enacted because political scruples intervened at some stage in the march of cynicism.'
  7. 'In any case, it's already too late for Howard to start having doubts or scruples.'
  8. 'Success and social ascendancy favoured those lacking any scruples.'
  9. 'He asserted that the government had no scruples about divesting a majority of its shares in the telecoms companies, as long as it would increase their benefit to the country.'
  10. 'Stalin was of course a secular utopian and materialist, and Applebaum seems to have found no evidence that he ever had any moral scruples or hesitations about the Gulag.'
  11. 'Their medical misgivings were reinforced by religious scruples, best expressed by the minister who thought chloroform ‘a decoy of Satan’.'
A unit of weight equal to 20 grains, used by apothecaries.
  1. 'Oil of the seed, given from half a scruple to half a dram, in some liquor, or a spoonful of juice in some wine, taken before the fit comes on, and the person is put to bed, cures quotidians and quartans.'
  2. 'Well, of course it's a joke, but it contains a scruple of truth.'


Hesitate or be reluctant to do something that one thinks may be wrong.
  1. 'One very black mark he had to his name; but the matter was hushed up at the time, and so defaced by legends before I came into those parts that I scruple to set it down.'
  2. 'Capitalists have never scrupled about redundant production'
  3. 'Northern newspapers claimed, ‘Shannon has not scrupled to take such steps as have given these pro-slavery fighting rowdies and Missourians possession of public arm belonging to Kansas.’'
  4. 'He scrupled to do evil that good might come of it, and in consequence refused to crush his adversaries because he recognized that he would need to seize illegal powers in order to do it.'

More definitions


1. a moral or ethical consideration or standard that acts as a restraining force or inhibits certain actions.

2. a very small portion or amount.

3. a unit of weight equal to 20 grains (

1.295 grams) or 1/3 of a dram, apothecaries' weight.

4. an ancient Roman unit of weight equivalent to 1/24 of an ounce or 1/288 of an as or pound.

Compare as2 (def 2). verb (used without object), scrupled, scrupling.

5. to have scruples.

verb (used with object), scrupled, scrupling.

6. to have


(scruple)Late Middle English: from French scrupule or Latin scrupulus, from scrupus, literally ‘rough pebble’, (figuratively) ‘anxiety’.