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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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


2 of 2


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

Examples of nibble in a Sentence

Verb We nibbled cheese and crackers. We nibbled on some cheese and crackers before dinner. Noun He felt a nibble on his fishing line. They served some delicious nibbles before dinner.
Recent Examples on the Web
Regardless, state lawmakers have been nibbling away at wetland protections for years, said Dan Borrit, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation. Katie Wiseman, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Feb. 2024 Regardless, state lawmakers have been nibbling away at wetland protections for years, said Dan Boritt, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 13 Feb. 2024 As a teenager, Ms. Dugdale went on a classic European Grand Tour and then was part of the 1958 debutante ceremony hosted by the queen, where the young women entering high society nibbled on chocolate cake and hobnobbed with royalty. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2024 Guests can also nibble on a spread of pastries and finger sandwiches and enjoy a full-service bar with a handful of signature cocktails — and slushies for the little ones. Lydia Price, Travel + Leisure, 9 Mar. 2024 Cultures in the Caribbean, South Africa and Tibet still nibble or sniff cinnabar for its seemingly magical effects. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Mar. 2024 Breakfast here will help set you up for a great day of nibbling and sipping your way through West Asheville, a residential neighborhood booming with breweries, new restaurants and awesome shops and such. Shawndra Russell, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Meanwhile, eager onlookers pay $40 to ogle and nibble. The Indianapolis Star, 27 Feb. 2024 His friend Justin Jackson, wearing a cowboy hat and nibbling on a toothpick, keeps checking his phone. Riley Robinson, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Feb. 2024
Expect to get a nibble on your lululemons or a piece of your ponytail. Ella Gonzales, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 8 Mar. 2024 So, pack a backpack filled with Champagne and nibbles (don’t forget the ring!), and head there for sunset for a memory-making moment. Laura Hampson, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Feb. 2024 Knowing how to pitch a tent properly is critical to staying warm and dry and keeping our belongings away from animals who might want a nibble. Christine Peterson, Outdoor Life, 13 Dec. 2023 Get The Recipe 20 of 50 Bacon Bow Tie Crackers Everyone from the kids to the grandparents will be grabbing for these simple, but oh-so-yummy nibbles. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 15 Nov. 2023 The classic spiked dessert hides out for hours before the merrymaking begins, soaking up rum in a secluded cabinet to safeguard it from those who'd like to take a nibble—or from that one relative who'd prefer to add an extra tipple when no one is watching. Nicola Blaque, Southern Living, 11 Nov. 2023 There's also a tray in the center for kid snacks, adult nibbles, candy, or non-food items, like a phone, sunglasses, or disinfectant wipes. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 17 Nov. 2023 Little nibbles of cone, then one spin around her mouth. Wesley Morris, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 These treats are the perfect party nibble—good luck limiting yourself to just one. Marissa Wu, Southern Living, 18 Oct. 2023

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

Word History



origin unknown

First Known Use


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


circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near nibble

Cite this Entry

“Nibble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


nibbled; nibbling
: to bite or chew gently or bit by bit
nibble noun

More from Merriam-Webster on nibble

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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