from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy: "Every man had his own quirks and twists” ( Harriet Beecher Stowe).
  • n. An unpredictable or unaccountable act or event; a vagary: a quirk of fate.
  • n. A sudden sharp turn or twist.
  • n. An equivocation; a quibble.
  • n. Architecture A lengthwise groove on a molding between the convex upper part and the soffit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an idiosyncrasy; a slight glitch, mannerism; something unusual about the manner or style of something or someone
  • n. An acute angle dividing a molding; a groove that runs lengthwise between the upper part of a moulding and a soffit
  • n. A quibble, evasion, or subterfuge.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sudden turn; a starting from the point or line; hence, an artful evasion or subterfuge; a shift; a quibble.
  • n. A fit or turn; a short paroxysm; a caprice.
  • n. A smart retort; a quibble; a shallow conceit.
  • n. An irregular air.
  • n. A piece of ground taken out of any regular ground plot or floor, so as to make a court, yard, etc.; -- sometimes written quink.
  • n. A small channel, deeply recessed in proportion to its width, used to insulate and give relief to a convex rounded molding.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To turn sharply.
  • To twist or turn; form into quirks.
  • To form or furnish with a quirk or channel.
  • To emit the breath forcibly after retaining it in violent exertion.
  • To grunt; complain.
  • n. A sharp turn or angle; a sudden twist.
  • n. Hence An artful turn for evasion or subterfuge; a shift; a quibble: as, the quirks of a pettifogger.
  • n. A fit or turn; a short paroxysm.
  • n. A smart taunt or retort; a slight conceit or quibble; a quip; a flight of fancy.
  • n. Inclination; turn; peculiarity; humor; caprice.
  • n. A sudden turn or flourish in a musical air; a fantastic phrase.
  • n. In building, a piece taken out of any regular ground-plot or floor, as to make a court or yard, etc.: thus, if the ground-plan were square or oblong, and a piece were taken out of the corner, such piece is called a quirk.
  • n. In architecture, an acute angle or recess; a deep indentation; the incision under the abacus.
  • n. A pane of glass cut at the sides and top in the form of a rhomb.
  • n. In a grooving-plane, a projecting fillet on the sole or side, arranged to serve as a fence or gage for depth or distance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a strange attitude or habit
  • v. twist or curve abruptly
  • n. a narrow groove beside a beading


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in the 1540s. Of uncertain origin. (Wiktionary)


  • Basically, I don't think that dewarping the quirk is the point so much as working through the narrative logic is.

    Modality and Hamlet

  • My local dry cleaner has acquiesced to what they call my quirk in using my own hangers for things that must be hung, and simply folding all the shirts which is a standard option.

    "Clarence Thomas leaps from his chair. He retrieves a wire coat hanger from his closet...."

  • One final quirk is that in most jurisdictions of Mexico your Mexican spouse-to-be cannot marry anyone even a Mexican citizen without a Cartilla Militar (military service card).


  • Maybe the whole point of the alethic quirk is to poke him hard, because his gasp of shock -- but! but! but! that could not happen!

    Modality and Hamlet

  • Numen/Monstrum – Facing an event that did happen (or the prefigura of an event that could happen); projecting ourselves into the characters or imagining such an event happening to ourselves, or coming about by our action, in so far as we desire/fear such an event, the strength or weakness of that quirk is the strength or weakness of our affect, positive or negative.

    Modality and Hamlet

  • The key thing with the first flavour of deontic quirk is that an agent can be caught in a tortura -- the pincer action of two incompatible dicta.

    Modality and Hamlet

  • My own personal quirk is M. John Harrison's much-vaunted Viriconium cycle, which I found to be quite spectacularly awful,

    MIND MELD: Books We Love That Everyone Else Hates (and Vice Versa)

  • My own personal quirk is M. John Harrison's much-vaunted Viriconium cycle, which I found to be quite spectacularly awful, and Nick Harkaway's recent Gone-Away World, which everyone seems to have loved despite it coming across as a crazed mash-up of China Mieville and Robert Rankin without the talent of either.

    MIND MELD: Books We Love That Everyone Else Hates (and Vice Versa)

  • In fact, you might be able to make the case that all societies react to crisis by attempting to simplify, but that the peculiarly American quirk is that the perception of simplicity is more important that the substance.

    Just Another Rhumb Line

  • Michael Hirschorn's premise is that our culture is drowning in "quirk" - movies, docs, TV shows and plays featuring characters with "unexplainable but nonetheless charming character traits."

    pink karmann ghia


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  • Since there was nowhere else for her to go, she was obliged to wait in the lobby beside the umbrella-stand till he came out, quirked his head at her suspiciously, and went into his father's room.

    - Rebecca West, The Judge

    July 16, 2009

  • Care to share some of those quirks with us?

    I force fabulous children's books like Don't Let the Pidgeon Drive the Bus upon innocent twenty-somethings.

    April 23, 2007

  • I am Quirk, and an aptronym.

    April 23, 2007