bick·​er·​ing | \ ˈbi-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce bickering (audio) \

Definition of bickering

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: petty and petulant quarreling especially when prolonged or habitual … said his own bosses, through their persistent bickering, had made his job practically impossible.— Ronald Scott also, plural : instances of such quarreling was tired of listening to their endless bickerings



Definition of bickering (Entry 2 of 2)

: engaging in or characterized by petty and petulant quarreling a bickering couple bickering politicians

Examples of bickering in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Like other rituals, secular and otherwise, this one offers the opportunity for factions to set aside their bickering. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Watch live: Trump delivers State of the Union on eve of impeachment vote, a spectacle of vision, rancor and surreality," 5 Feb. 2020 Buttigieg pointedly criticized Sanders and Biden for their recent bickering over their positions on the Iraq War and Social Security and positioned himself as the candidate who would move past old squabbles. Charlotte Alter/decorah, Time, "Buttigieg Criticizes Sanders and Biden, Casting Them As Candidates of the Past," 30 Jan. 2020 Last night’s debate, held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, was dull, dim, and desperate in its attempts to stoke bickering among the six candidates who made the stage (the only color came in the form of the candidates’ attire for the event). Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Last Night’s Debate Was An All-White Party Not Worth Attending," 15 Jan. 2020 Nobody asked me, but a sale of the Broncos to new ownership would give this team a fresh start and better chance to succeed than working under the constant duress of a Bowlen house divided by endless bickering among incorrigible children. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: Broncos team president Joe Ellis’ ultimatum to Bowlen kids: Put Brittany in charge or sell," 30 Dec. 2019 This verdict will not end the partisan bickering over the Russia investigation’s origins. The Economist, "The investigation into the investigation," 12 Dec. 2019 In The Lighthouse, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play a pair of bickering — and worse! — nineteenth-century lighthouse keepers stranded on a remote island. Clark Collis,, "Robert Pattinson spent first day of The Lighthouse shoot naked and 'losing my mind'," 26 Nov. 2019 Their partnership has been fraught with bickering and rifts. Arkansas Online, "Afghan president wins 2nd term in preliminary vote count," 22 Dec. 2019 Everything ends up in the same place, the latest example of bickering in do-nothing Washington—another story line that favors the burn-it-all-down GOP of the Trump era. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "How the GOP Bamboozled The New York Times’ Politics Desk," 17 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bickering.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bickering


1573, in the meaning defined above


1811, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for bickering

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The first known use of bickering was in 1573

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Statistics for bickering

Last Updated

11 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bickering.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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