nib·​ble | \ ˈni-bəl How to pronounce nibble (audio) \
nibbled; nibbling\ ˈni-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce nibbling (audio) \

Definition of nibble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to bite gently
b : to eat or chew in small bits
2 : to take away bit by bit waves nibbling the shore

intransitive verb

1 : to take gentle, small, or cautious bites also : snack
2 : to deal with something as if by nibbling



Definition of nibble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of nibbling
2 : a very small quantity or portion (as of food) also : snack
3 : a tentative expression of interest

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Other Words from nibble


nibbler \ ˈni-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce nibbler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for nibble

Synonyms: Verb

peck, pick

Synonyms: Noun

bite, morsel, mouthful, nugget, taste, tidbit (also titbit)

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Examples of nibble in a Sentence


We nibbled cheese and crackers. We nibbled on some cheese and crackers before dinner.


He felt a nibble on his fishing line. They served some delicious nibbles before dinner.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eastern cottontail rabbits began decimating the roses about a year and a half ago, gnawing the skin off the canes, nibbling the petals, and generally wreaking havoc with the delicate flowers. Michael Levenson,, "‘The roses and the rabbits can’t live together’," 24 June 2019 Then, too, as the earlier townhouse project nibbled away at part of the overall site, the remaining parcel offered less land and therefore less opportunity. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Royal Oak property sat empty for decades. Here's why — and what's moving in.," 18 June 2019 As time went on, the scientists started to suspect that the diving beetles might be nibbling on pupfish eggs here and there. Jason Bittel, National Geographic, "Brutal beetles kept world’s rarest fish from breeding—until now," 1 Mar. 2019 What could be better than sipping cocktails and nibbling on light bites? San Diego Union-Tribune, "Best happy hours in Miami, Lauderdale, Boca, Delray, West Palm Beach and other South Florida cities.," 12 Mar. 2019 My husband liked it, and my daughter nibbled on a piece of fennel, but my son respectfully declined. Kim Walker, Woman's Day, "Fennel and Celery Salad," 19 Apr. 2012 While some Democrats try to nibble around the edges of the college-affordability problem, Treviño — like Sanders — has argued for free public colleges and universities. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "How a Bernie-ite school teacher defied the odds in District 23," 8 Mar. 2018 Another great idea is a cheese and charcuterie board for people to nibble on. Talia Abbas, SELF, "How to Throw a Laid-Back Holiday Party at Home, from the Team at A Summer Day Cafe," 6 Dec. 2018 Check out their adorable first encounter: The tiny pig sniffs at the massive dog's snout, jumps up in his face and does a half lap around the Great Dane before nibbling at his back. Rori Kotch, Country Living, "This Miniature Pig and Great Dane Win the Award For Cutest Friendship," 16 July 2015

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That, and those tortilla chips with smooth, homemade salsa, make the perfect nibbles to tide you over while that Molcajete is cooling off. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Eating my way through Mercado del Barrio: This is what America tastes like," 20 June 2019 But mathematicians agreed that the nibble wouldn’t be useful for attempts to make perfect designs. Quanta Magazine, "A Design Dilemma Solved, Minus Designs," 9 June 2015 And 850 guests gleefully savored gourmet nibbles and superior sips provided by top toques and vintners. Catherine Bigelow,, "Soiree sends up San Francisco’s new event space at Pier 70," 6 June 2019 The festivities then continued around the corner at Indochine, where attendees hid from the unseasonably wet weather with nibbles of spring rolls and skirt steak while listening to the musical stylings of Teyana Taylor. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Dr. Barbara Sturm Is Opening a Store—Walk, Don't Run," 3 May 2019 Don't forget to pack some snacks and nibbles in there too alongside your beverages! Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Target's Fanny Pack Wine Cooler Is the Only Accessory You Need This Summer," 31 May 2019 Not the nibbles around the edge, not the here's a piece or here's a piece. Marie Claire, "One of These Women Could Be Our Next President," 21 Feb. 2019 What about getting rid of office plants, a favorite rat nibble, one of the suggestions in Mr. Wesson’s motion? Ian Lovett, WSJ, "Politics Is a Dirty Business—Starting with the Rats at Los Angeles City Hall," 10 Feb. 2019 But there was no cynic present, only a former junk-food lover preparing to subject all of these healthy nibbles to a rigorous taste test. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Healthy Snack Food Actually Healthy—or Just Addictive?," 18 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nibble.' 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 nibble


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nibble


origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near nibble





nibble (away) at



Statistics for nibble

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nibble

The first known use of nibble was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for nibble



English Language Learners Definition of nibble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to eat slowly or with small bites
: to bite (something) very gently



English Language Learners Definition of nibble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small bite
: an expression of interest in something
informal : small things to eat before a meal or at a party : snacks or appetizers


nib·​ble | \ ˈni-bəl How to pronounce nibble (audio) \
nibbled; nibbling

Kids Definition of nibble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to bite or chew gently or bit by bit



Kids Definition of nibble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very small amount

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More from Merriam-Webster on nibble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nibble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nibble

Spanish Central: Translation of nibble

Nglish: Translation of nibble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nibble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on nibble

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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