variants or less commonly kibbitz
kibitzed also kibbitzed; kibitzing also kibbitzing; kibitzes also kibbitzes

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The eclectic — some could argue eccentric — dealers kibitzed about business trends and marveled about how quickly kids’ interests were changing as groups of boys sat on the floor showing off their favorite cards. Ken Belson, New York Times, 26 Jan. 2024 Peter Bart, former editor of Variety and head of production at Paramount, recalled that kibitzing at commissaries often led to dealmaking — and even Oscars. Pat Saperstein, Variety, 16 Oct. 2023 Parterre Box embraced both the sublime and ridiculous aspects of the art form with a breathless, over-the-top tone familiar to the gay fans who kibitzed during intermissions at the Metropolitan Opera. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 4 Oct. 2023 That June, Pras says, he had been invited by Frank White Jr., then the vice chairman of the president’s reelection campaign and one of Obama’s top fundraisers, to an intimate event in Miami, where for $40,000, donors could sit and kibitz with the president. Michael Ames, Rolling Stone, 12 Mar. 2023 Guys who kibitz, inform and entertain all the way through. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 12 Nov. 2020 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,, 18 Jan. 2020 Failed ex-candidates should kibitz seldom, and then without coy evasions; Mrs. Clinton deserved the rebuke. Nr Editors, National Review, 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, 3 July 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kibitz.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

1927, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of kibitz was in 1927

Dictionary Entries Near kibitz

Cite this Entry

“Kibitz.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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