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See also: Quirk



First attested in the 1540s. Of uncertain origin.



quirk (plural quirks)

  1. An idiosyncrasy; a slight glitch, mannerism; something unusual about the manner or style of something or someone.
    The car steers cleanly, but the gearshift has a few quirks.
  2. (architecture) An acute angle dividing a molding; a groove that runs lengthwise between the upper part of a moulding and a soffit.
  3. (archaic) A quibble, evasion, or subterfuge.
    • 1605 (first performance), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Volpone, or The Foxe. A Comœdie. []”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: [] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, OCLC 960101342:
      Had you no quirk / To avoid gullage, sir, by such a creature?
    • 1657, Samuel Purchas, “[The Second Part. Being Meditations and Observations, Theologicall, and Morall, upon the Nature of Bees.] The First Century.”, in A Theatre of Politicall Flying-Insects. [], London: [] M. S. for Thomas Parkhurst, [], OCLC 5952968, section II, page 258:
      Let us not be too curious in prying into Gods arke, leaſt vve ſmart like the flie fluttering about the candle, for God is a conſuming fire to thoſe that vvill be ſporting themſelves in the quirks of their vvit about his ſacred myſteries.

Derived terms[edit]



quirk (third-person singular simple present quirks, present participle quirking, simple past and past participle quirked)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To (cause to) move with a wry jerk.
    He quirked an eyebrow.
    The corners of her mouth quirked.
    • 2017, Jane Gloriana Villanueva, Snow Falling (page 203)
      He quirked his lips playfully.
  2. (transitive, architecture) To furnish with a quirk or channel.
  3. (intransitive, archaic) To use verbal tricks or quibbles.
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Oedipus Tyrannus; Or, Swellfoot The Tyrant: A Tragedy in Two Acts:
      I have stung her and wrung her,
      The venom is working;—
      And if you had hung her
      With canting and quirking,
      She could not be deader than she will be soon