Definition of quiddity in English:

quiddity

Line breaks: quid|dity
Pronunciation: /ˈkwɪdɪti
 
/

noun (plural quiddities)

  • 1 [mass noun] chiefly Philosophy The inherent nature or essence of someone or something.
    More example sentences
    • And so we need only consider these two works in order to discover his particular view of being, essence and quiddity that specifies his philosophical thinking.
    • For there is no knowledge of things insofar as they are external in effect, but insofar as their nature and quiddity is grasped by the mind.
    • Immanence should not be equated with essence, if by essence we mean a substratum of materiality inherent in things; a quality or quiddity to which all things can be reduced.
  • 2A distinctive feature; a peculiarity: his quirks and quiddities
    More example sentences
    • He occasionally quarrelled with his fellow justices over what he described as the ‘quirks and quiddities’ of the law.
    • Imitating the great singers with full respect to their quiddities and idiosyncrasies isn't easy.
    • She has her eye on a like void when she describes Shakespeare's fascination with ‘human variability,’ how he could ‘create all kinds of human grotesques out of quiddities of speech and mannerism.’

Origin

late Middle English: from medieval Latin quidditas, from Latin quid 'what'.

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