Definitions for quiddityˈkwɪd ɪ ti
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
quid•di•tyˈkwɪd ɪ ti(n.)(pl.)-ties.
the quality that makes a thing what it is; essential nature.
a trifling nicety of subtle distinction, as in argument.
Origin of quiddity:
1530–40; < ML quidditās= L quid what +-itās -ity
quibble, quiddity, cavil(noun)
an evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections
the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
The essence or inherent nature of a person or thing.
A trifle; a nicety or quibble
An eccentricity; an odd feature
Origin: From quiddité, and its source, quidditas, from quid + -itas.
the essence, nature, or distinctive peculiarity, of a thing; that which answers the question, Quid est? or, What is it?
a trifling nicety; a cavil; a quibble
In scholastic philosophy, quiddity was another term for the essence of an object, literally its "whatness," or "what it is." The term derives from the Latin word "quidditas," which was used by the medieval scholastics as a literal translation of the equivalent term in Aristotle's Greek. It describes properties that a particular substance shares with others of its kind. The question "what is it?" asks for a general description by way of commonality. This is quiddity or "whatness". Quiddity was often contrasted by the scholastic philosophers with the haecceity or "thisness" of an item, which was supposed to be a positive characteristic of an individual that caused them to be this individual, and no other. It is used in this sense in British poet George Herbert's eponymous poem, "Quiddity."
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