bick·​er·​ing | \ˈbi-k(ə-)riŋ \

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

All of the other scandals have been about personnel and bickering and something crazy Trump said off the record. Fox News, "President Trump attacks New York Times for anonymous op-ed," 7 Sep. 2018 The marchers find the political bickering and the superficial formalities there too much. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "A Grass-Roots Afghan Peace Movement Grows, Step by Step," 15 June 2018 In late April, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for an end to the bickering among Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar during a trip to the Gulf. Desmond Butler And Tom Lobianco,, "AP: Emails reveal secret lobbying effort to alter U.S. policy in Middle East," 21 May 2018 The public is disgusted by the bickering and backbiting that has seemingly overtaken real debate and problem-solving. Joe Lieberman, Time, "Joe Lieberman: Why Washington Will Start Functioning Again," 26 Feb. 2018 After days of bickering and food and water running low on the rescue ship, Spain stepped in and offered to grant the rescue boat entry some 930 miles away. NBC News, "Rescue ships dock in Spain as migrant debate roils Europe," 17 June 2018 With all the professional bickering, patients can be forgiven for wondering what, exactly, is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture. Beth Teitell,, "Physical therapists vs. Acupuncturists: Who’s sticking it to whom?," 9 June 2018 In 2016, the 22nd District overwhelmingly went for Mr. Trump, and voters are quick to write off criticism of Mr. Nunes, whose family farming background many closely relate to, as television spin and partisan bickering. New York Times, "In California’s Farm Country, the Tide of ‘Resistance’ Runs Dry Ahead of the Primary," 29 May 2018 The foursome becomes a bickering, Gatorade-drinking Scooby gang out to solve the murders while also dealing with other townsfolk, including Mila’s crush (who's also Riley’s big brother), a nosy school newspaper reporter and a pack of biker ladies. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Four hot novels for teens to dive into this summer vacation," 3 July 2018

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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Bickford fuse

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Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for bickering

The first known use of bickering was in 1573

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More from Merriam-Webster on bickering

Nglish: Translation of bickering for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bickering for Arabic Speakers

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