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

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 And algae grazing, in which species like parrot fish nibble away algae and dead coral from the reefs stimulating new coral growth, happened 3.2 times as often around the birdy banks. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Coral Reefs Need Fewer Rats and More Bird Poo," 12 July 2018 Attendees nibbled on yellowfish tuna that had been tracked using Viant's blockchain app all the way from Fiji, where it was caught. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Praying To Satoshi at the Blockchain Art Expo," 14 May 2018 Hollywood stars and fashion elite sipped Moet & Chandon while nibbling hors d'oeuvres at Chateau Marmont this past weekend to celebrate French sensation Marion Cotillard. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Marion Cotillard Fêted by Dior," 12 Jan. 2010 During a recent Bruno Mars concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, some concertgoers passed on the greasy hot dogs, opting instead to nibble on sesame lamb meatballs. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, "WW International Looks Beyond Dieting," 29 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 After coffee and nibbles, Martinetto scoped out the racks as the designers gained valuable knowledge on how to meet with leaders in retail. Vogue, "Tomorrow London Hosts a Breakfast at the Americans in Paris Showroom for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund," 4 Oct. 2018 Ending the tour at Blender Studios for an informal gallery tour with wine and nibbles, and interacting with some of the artists in their workspace, was a unique and organic way to round out the day. Krista Simmons, Condé Nast Traveler, "13 Best Things to Do in Melbourne," 26 Sep. 2018 Some smelled it, licked it, or took tiny nibbles around the edges, hoping the examiner wouldn't notice. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "R.I.P. Walter Mischel, father of the infamous Marshmallow Test," 14 Sep. 2018 Pickled in Vinegar One final way to store all your garlic is to pickle it. Pickling mellows garlic out, making whole cloves mild enough to be tossed raw into salads or served as nibbles along with olives and such. Jean Nick, Good Housekeeping, "7 Ways You Can Make Your Garlic Last Longer," 27 July 2018 What's worse, even the most conscientious dieter forgets to count those extra nibbles. Jill Provost, Woman's Day, "Are You Sabotaging Your Diet?," 7 Feb. 2011

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

24 May 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 speak slightingly about or to degrade

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