ki·​bitz | \ ˈki-bəts How to pronounce kibitz (audio) , kə-ˈbits How to pronounce kibitz (audio) \
variants: or less commonly kibbitz
kibitzed also kibbitzed; kibitzing also kibbitzing; kibitzes also kibbitzes

Definition of kibitz

intransitive verb

1 : to act as a kibitzer
2 : to exchange comments : chat

transitive verb

: to observe as a kibitzer especially : to be a kibitzer at kibitz a card game

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Examples of kibitz in a Sentence

They sat around kibitzing about their children. My uncle likes to kibitz when I play poker with my cousins. He likes to kibitz our poker games.
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Recent Examples on the Web Instead, Cora and other members of the baseball operations staff enjoyed kibitzing with Celtics coach Brad Stevens, a visiting dignitary to Fenway in one of the organization’s busiest — and in some ways, most exciting — weeks of the year. Alex Speier,, "Inside Alex Cora’s departure from the Red Sox," 18 Jan. 2020 Failed ex-candidates should kibitz seldom, and then without coy evasions; Mrs. Clinton deserved the rebuke. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 24 Oct. 2019 Her approach comes out of the early online communities that sprang up around shows, where fans could kibitz and argue, exchanging detailed exegeses of episodes and (back then) bootleg videotapes. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "A TV Critic Who Has Seen the Small Screen Become Huge," 3 July 2019 The giggle of the stream is usually the loudest sound … like kids kibitzing over candy. Chris Erskine,, "Fly-casting in the shadow of the Rose Bowl. Of all places, right?," 6 June 2019 Some tried to keep close watch over his kibitzing with guests during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan’s visit to Palm Beach, Fla., last week, according to two people familiar with the planning. Katie Rogers, New York Times, "Trumps Throw Out Tradition for Their First State Dinner," 23 Apr. 2018 After his first-place score of 87.16 flashed, and with a handful of riders still up top, there was 17-year-old shredder Red Gerard kibitzing with none other than IOC President Thomas Bach. USA TODAY, "Home grown: Red Gerard takes Olympic gold back to backyard," 10 Feb. 2018 Like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Alex spends more time kibitzing with customers on the selling floor than inside his office. Steven Kurutz, New York Times, "The Last Great Clothing Store," 29 Mar. 2018 James is upset because his video platform Uninterrupted features a show called The Shop that includes James kibitzing with fellow sports luminaries. Andy Staples,, "Nick Saban, LeBron James Are Battling for Second When It Comes to Barbershop Content," 4 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of kibitz

1927, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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.

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Time Traveler for kibitz

Time Traveler

The first known use of kibitz was in 1927

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Cite this Entry

“Kibitz.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for kibitz


How to pronounce kibitz (audio) How to pronounce kibitz (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of kibitz

US, informal
: to talk to someone in a friendly and informal way
: to watch other people and make unwanted comments about what they are doing

More from Merriam-Webster on kibitz

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kibitz

Nglish: Translation of kibitz for Spanish Speakers

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