Definitions

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

  • n. A theological or philosophical issue presented for formal argument or disputation.
  • n. Formal disputation of such an issue.
  • n. Music A usually humorous medley.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of music with melodies in counterpoint.
  • n. A mode of philosophical debate popular in the Middle Ages, in which any question could be posed extemporaneously.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A nice point; a subtilty; a debatable point.
  • n. A medley improvised by several performers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A scholastic argumentation upon a subject chosen at will, but almost always theological.
  • n. In music: A fantasia or potpourri.
  • n. A fanciful or humorous harmonic combination of two or more well-known melodies: sometimes equivalent to a Dutch concert.

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

  • n. an issue that is presented for formal disputation

Etymologies

Middle English, from Medieval Latin quodlibetum, from Latin quod libet, anything at all : quod, what; see kwo- in Indo-European roots + libet, it pleases, third person sing. present tense of libēre, to be pleasing; see leubh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The apostles also confuted the heathen philosophers and Jews, a people than whom none more obstinate, but rather by their good lives and miracles than syllogisms: and yet there was scarce one among them that was capable of understanding the least "quodlibet" of the Scotists.

    The Praise of Folly

  • Ex falso sequitur quodlibet, from a false hypothesis anything can follow, likewise sums up your own m.o. all too well and all too frequently; whether subtly or more overtly and more arrogantly still; distorting what others say, then adding the pointed barb and the tacit, the barely unspoken “fuck-off”.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Our Own Randy Barnett Talks to Prof. Glenn Reynolds (InstaPundit) About Whether ObamaCare Is Constitutional

  • Johannes Brassicanus quoted three of them in his quodlibet Was wölln wir aber heben an?

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Bruck's style in the German sacred lied shows the move towards the later motet-style settings of chorales, but his greatest achievements were in polyphonic arrangements of German folksongs and court melodies, as well as in the quodlibet.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • Occasionally, a sufficiently serious religious news item appears that I find it necessary to eschew irony in order to assess, in a serious and sober way, the exigent theological quodlibet.

    Anjem Choudary and donkeys « Anglican Samizdat

  • This sort of serendipity goes way back, of course — think of Clément Janequin's "Les cris de Paris," a quodlibet of 16th-century vendors 'cries; In the 19th century, there was a bit of a vogue for the combination of worldly concerns and overheard church music, Schumann's song "Sonntags am Rhine" being a gorgeous example.

    Archive 2007-06-01

  • An impossible world of the fourth kind, at which some contradiction is true but not everything is, provides a counterexample to ex falso quodlibet.

    Impossible Worlds

  • Forgive me, quick-witted reader, if this quodlibet to Q has made you querimonious; I'll leave the letter and return to Q, the woman, after I tax you with one more notion.

    'Roads to Quoz'

  • Then someone may turn out to be both a married man and a bachelor, therefore, given the meaning of bachelor™, both a married man and not a married man (and, of course, nobody would infer from this that he is not a man anymore, or both a man and not a man, etc.; so we have another counterexample to ex contradictione quodlibet).

    Dialetheism

  • Nevertheless -- a fun idea for a quodlibet! deadsongs. vue.77

    The WELL: Franklin's Tower

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Comments

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  • A nice point; a subtilty; a debatable point.( GNU Websters) ..... anything pleasing - literally, perhaps?

    August 23, 2012

  • "A quodlibet is a piece of music combining several different melodies, usually popular tunes, in counterpoint and often a light-hearted, humorous manner."

    May 30, 2009

  • quodlibet – "what you like"; moot or subtle point; fruitless or pedantic argument (from the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia)

    July 22, 2008