verb ki·bitz \ ˈki-bəts , kə-ˈbits \
variants: or less commonly kibbitz
|Updated on: 12 Jun 2018

Definition of kibitz

kibitzed also kibbitzed; kibitzing also kibbitzing; kibitzes also kibbitzes
1 : to act as a kibitzer
2 : to exchange comments : chat
: to observe as a kibitzer; especially : to be a kibitzer at
  • kibitz a card game

Examples of kibitz in a Sentence

  1. They sat around kibitzing about their children.

  2. My uncle likes to kibitz when I play poker with my cousins.

  3. He likes to kibitz our poker games.

Recent Examples of kibitz from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of kibitz

borrowed from Yiddish kibetsn or German kiebitzen "to look on (at a card game)," both borrowed from Rotwelsch (German underworld argot) kiebitschen, chippischen, gippischen "(of the police) to search out, patrol," of obscure origin
Note: In passage from Rotwelsch to ordinary vernaculars, there has presumably been a jocular transfer in sense from the undesirable observation of underworld activity by the police to observation of a more innocent activity such as a game. Corresponding to the Rotwelsch verb is a noun Kiewisch, Gippisch, Kippisch, etc., "police search, investigation, patrol," attested slightly earlier, perhaps first (as Gippisch, Geppisch) in a vocabulary appended to Alphabetisches Verzeichnis einer Anzahl von Räubern, Dieben und Vagabonden (Hamburg, 1814), by a Danish police official, H.C. Christensen, based on an investigation carried out in Kiel in 1811-12. Neither the German or Yiddish words or their Rotwelsch source have any plausible connection to German Kiebitz "lapwing" other than by secondary association.

kibitz Synonyms

Related Words

gossip, tattle;

descant, discuss, expatiate;

yak (also yack), yammer, yap;


blow smoke, chew the fat (also chew the rag), shoot the breeze, talk a blue streak;

KIBITZ Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of kibitz for English Language Learners

  • : to talk to someone in a friendly and informal way

  • : to watch other people and make unwanted comments about what they are doing

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one who attends or assists a leader

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