grib·​ble | \ ˈgri-bəl How to pronounce gribble (audio) \

Definition of gribble

: either of two small wood-boring marine isopods (Limnoria lignorum and L. tripunctata)

Examples of gribble in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The two most common borers are a kind of shipworm called Teredo navalis, which is actually a wormlike clam, and tiny crustaceans known as gribbles. New York Times, "The Critters Doing $114 Million in Damage to Brooklyn’s Piers," 13 Sep. 2019 So, discovering how gribbles break through lignin would be an important step to figuring out how humans can use it, and scientists from the Universities of York, Portsmouth, Cambridge, and São Paulo figured it out. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Gribble Worm Could Hold Secrets for Cheaper Renewable Energy," 5 Dec. 2018 The scientists discovered that gribbles use hemocyanins to attack the strong bonds of lignin. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Gribble Worm Could Hold Secrets for Cheaper Renewable Energy," 5 Dec. 2018 Deep-sea wood borers (Xylophaga, a genus of bivalve mollusks) take over where shallow water gribbles and shipworms left off. Brian Payton, Smithsonian, "How Driftwood Reshapes Ecosystems," 9 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of gribble

1838, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gribble

perhaps alteration of grub entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gribble

Time Traveler for gribble

Time Traveler

The first known use of gribble was in 1838

See more words from the same year

Statistics for gribble

Cite this Entry

“Gribble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on gribble Encyclopedia article about gribble

Comments on gribble

What made you want to look up gribble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!