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

Synonyms for nibble

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb My mother had her own lost causes: cats with terminal diseases, former show dogs abandoned in shelters, her boyfriend from the bus riders’ union who slept in a riverbed and complained that the coyotes came at night to nibble on his toes. Jason Brown, The New Yorker, "The Wrong Jason Brown," 2 May 2021 While humans enjoy their traditional meat and cheese charcuterie boards, doggos can nibble on a plate loaded with cheese, apples, blueberries, carrots, peanut butter and puppy treats. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "8 San Antonio restaurants with the best dog menus or dishes made for dogs," 14 Apr. 2021 So his administration was forced to nibble around the edges. Washington Post, "Trump’s big policy win: stronger showers, faster dishwashers. It’s something almost no one asked for," 30 Dec. 2020 Prior to the delivery of Good News, her official debut album, Megan Thee Stallion gave the Hotties something sweet to nibble on with her third EP Suga. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 20 Best Rap Albums of 2020: Staff Picks," 10 Dec. 2020 Within these restrictions, Ms Suu Kyi has tried to nibble away at the Tatmadaw’s authority. The Economist, "Aung San Suu Kyi was supposed to set Burmese democracy free," 7 Nov. 2020 Nevertheless, Scibetta said red-eared sliders are opportunistic eaters and will nibble on just about any food that comes their way. René A. Guzman,, "Red-eared sliders: Texas turtles need to soak in the sun, so they’re not the best bet for indoor pets," 3 Nov. 2020 Even so, outside candidates can nibble at the edges in a close election. Mark Niquette,, "Talked Up as Spoiler, Kanye West’s 2020 Bid Draws Mostly Shrugs," 11 Oct. 2020 Though this might evoke images of an invading land army, the bulk of troops are likely to be to the rear, on the Chinese side, in support of intruders nibbling at Indian territory. The Economist, "Mountain claimers A border dispute between India and China is getting more serious," 28 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bavarian tavern snack: Some longtime Wisconsin taverns and supper clubs still offer patrons a free nibble of crackers and cheese, and the cheese spreads pay homage mostly to cheddar. Mary Bergin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pomeranian-style Oktoberfest brings some little-known flavors - and history," 22 Sep. 2020 Drinks were modeled after the four elements—Air, Earth, Fire, and Water—and enjoyed before guests moved into the ballroom for delectable and warming nibbles such as truffle lobster risotto and the signature chicken pie. Vogue, "Diane von Furstenberg and Edward Enninful Host One Celestial Bash at Claridge’s," 30 Nov. 2018 He was even permitted a few nibbles of the grass lawn. oregonlive, "Therapy llama visits outside of nursing home, drops in on Zoom meetings, amid coronavirus," 2 May 2020 Stores are looking closely at developing curbside-pickup-delivery initiatives, so the toothpick-spearing days for a nibble of diced cheese, cube of meat or dessert cup with tiny plastic spoon are in the past to stay. Marc Bona, cleveland, "16 things likely to become obsolete in a post-coronavirus world," 26 Apr. 2020 Some smelled it, licked it, or took tiny nibbles around the edges. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New twist on marshmallow test: Kids depend on each other for self control," 21 Jan. 2020 From the welcoming glass of Krug champagne to the final nibble of Indian sweets from Masala Munchies, guests were treated to a three-course dinner that showcased Houston's cultural diversity. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Culinary stars shine bright at Southern Smoke kickoff," 5 Oct. 2019 Frilly tea, please Just about now, who doesn’t want to go escape somewhere with friends, yummy nibbles and butterflies on your plate? Neiman Marcus is bringing high tea to its Zodiac Room in its Downtown Dallas store. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Retail Therapy: Spring hasn’t been canceled at NorthPark, Highland Park Village and Neiman Marcus," 5 Mar. 2020 Just remember that any plant can cause stomach upset and vomiting if your pet nibbles on it, so keep an eye on your pets with all your indoor plants and indoor trees. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "How to Care for a Money Tree," 24 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for nibble

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for nibble

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nibble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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