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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.