verb (used without object)

  1. to find fault or complain querulously or unreasonably; be niggling in criticizing; cavil: to carp at minor errors.


  1. a peevish complaint.

noun, plural (especially collectively) carp, (especially referring to two or more kinds or species) carps.

  1. a large freshwater cyprinid fish, Cyprinus carpio, native to Asia but widely introduced in tropical and temperate waters: an important food fish in many countries.
  2. any of various other fishes of the family Cyprinidae.

  1. a combining form occurring in compounds that denote a part of a fruit or fruiting body: endocarp.

  1. carpentry.


  1. (intr often foll by at) to complain or find fault; nag pettily

noun plural carp or carps

  1. a freshwater teleost food fish, Cyprinus carpio, having a body covered with cycloid scales, a naked head, one long dorsal fin, and two barbels on each side of the mouth: family Cyprinidae
  2. any other fish of the family Cyprinidae; a cyprinid

n combining form

  1. (in botany) fruit or a reproductive structure that develops into a particular part of the fruitepicarp

type of freshwater fish, late 14c., from Old French carpe “carp” (13c.) and directly from Vulgar Latin carpa (source also of Italian carpa, Spanish carpa), from a Germanic source (cf. Middle Dutch carpe, Dutch karper, Old High German karpfo, German Karpfen “carp”); possibly the immediate source is Gothic *karpa. A Danube fish (hence the proposed East Germanic origin of its name), introduced in English ponds 14c. Lithuanian karpis, Russian karp are Germanic loan words.


“complain,” early 13c., originally “to talk,” from Old Norse karpa “to brag,” of unknown origin; meaning turned toward “find fault with” (late 14c.), probably by influence of Latin carpere “to slander, revile,” literally “to pluck” (see harvest (n.)). Related: Carped; carping.

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