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

  • adj. Suggesting puzzlement; questioning.
  • adj. Teasing; mocking: "His face wore a somewhat quizzical almost impertinent air” ( Lawrence Durrell).
  • adj. Eccentric; odd.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Questioning or suggesting puzzlement.
  • adj. Strange or eccentric.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Relating to quizzing; given to quizzing; of the nature of a quiz; farcical; sportive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Characteristic of a quiz; bantering; teasing; shy; queer: as, a quizzical look or remark.

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

  • adj. perplexed (as if being expected to know something that you do not know)
  • adj. playfully vexing (especially by ridicule)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • She opened her eyes to find him peering down at her, his expression quizzical.

    The Devil Wears Plaid

  • And because the Huskies don't travel to the Bay Area this season, a win like this would have been like scoring the word "quizzical" in Scrabble.

    The Seattle Times

  • His expression was quizzical and slightly concerned.

    Sweet Deceit

  • He recalled the quizzical looks he got from batters when the sinker came in hard like a fastball and then broke downward.


  • Quietly rubbing against the grain of contemporary painting, this kind of quizzical, intimate work is a thing to be cherished.

    This week's new exhibitions

  • The Geekette, what was her name, Phoebe? sat up a little straighter, tensing slightly, then favoured him with a raised eyebrow that could only be called "quizzical".

    An Un Conventional Story

  • When it became clear to him that he appeared for the moment to have nothing to fear from the eagle, who was merely regarding him with a kind of quizzical, blinking doubt, he sat up, and then slowly dragged himself back to his feet and wiped and smaacked some of the dirt off his coat.

    The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

  • The baby’s feathered face can be remarkably expressive: it is wearing what can only be described as a quizzical look: What’s this?


  • It simply gazed back with a kind of quizzical pity on its lean features under the scrutiny of eyes so deep, so meaningful, so desolate, and yet so indomitably courageous.

    The Return

  • You say to an Irishman, "Pat! what will you take and sit on the spire of St. James 'Cathedral all night?" and he looks at you in a kind of quizzical way and says: -- "Shure and be jabbers I'll take a bad cold."

    Scotland's Contributions to the Empire


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  • If quizzes are quizzical, then what are tests?

    September 30, 2007

  • "In Maria, child of her brother's late marriage, he now saw that beauty, or sort of physical genius, without the halting influence that had bound Mrs. Vesey up -- yes, and bound Henry up, from his boyhood, with her -- in a circle of quizzical half-smiles." -- Elizabeth Bowen, "Sunday Afternoon," Ivy Gripped the Steps.

    May 3, 2007