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

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 Excess water retention in the growing mix can damage roots that the millipedes would then begin nibbling. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: Will my blooming rose bud survive the winter?," 8 Feb. 2020 The sticky sap may irritate tummies, so keep this plant away from curious pets who like to nibble on houseplants. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, "How to Care for a Ficus Tree," 6 Feb. 2020 For a bright, lemony moment, there’ll be herby salad to nibble on between bites of stuffing and gravy. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Small kitchen, big Thanksgiving," 18 Nov. 2019 Try not to nibble on fresh greens right from the ground or take a picnic to the nearby tables. David Ferry,, "One Day, One Place: Yountville, Napa Valley," 17 Oct. 2019 Shatner encourages the boys to get some food, and soon the polite youngsters are nibbling and visiting with other guests. Deborah Evans Price, Billboard, "When Two Worlds Collide: Shadowing William Shatner on the Day of His Grand Ole Opry Debut," 17 Feb. 2019 Keegan's mom cooks up food in the crockpot and puts together healthy snacks to nibble track side, though Keegan is often too nervous to eat. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan boy doesn't have a driver's license — but hits racetrack at 80 mph," 13 Feb. 2020 Litterally Divine Chocolates Sip your macchiato and nibble a chocolate truffle while watching owner Suzanne Litteral make chocolates, caramels and toffee, all organic and vegan versions available. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "The best dessert bars and chocolate shops in and around Indianapolis," 11 Feb. 2020 Nimble startups nibbled away at conventional lenders’ market share in the extortionate business of moving money across borders. The Economist, "2019 in review: trade wars and tech battles," 25 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Bats aren’t exactly clean, so if one nibbles on a fruit, the food may get contaminated with fecal matter. National Geographic, "New coronavirus can spread between humans—but it started in a wildlife market," 21 Jan. 2020 Cost is $35 for this educational sit-down tasting with accompanying nibbles; reservations are required. Marc Bona,, "Wine calendar: Inaugural Taste of Gervasi set, Duckhorn at Fleming’s, more," 25 June 2019 The family then enjoys some Christmas treats with their horses — with more than one of the animals helping itself to a tasty festive nibble from the expensive-looking porcelain plates. Phil Boucher,, "Princess Isabella of Denmark Shows Some Serious Side-Eye in Royal Photo Christmas Photo," 13 Dec. 2019 The endless stream of social media nibbles away at your time. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "How to break the spell of iPhone addiction," 9 Dec. 2019 Jakubowski offers a nibble of Bloomsday cheese, from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester. Rand Richards Cooper,, "In Our Midst: Slow shopping at the Old Wethersfield Country Store," 18 Oct. 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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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

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nibble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for nibble


How to pronounce nibble (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for nibble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nibble

Spanish Central: Translation of nibble

Nglish: Translation of nibble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nibble for Arabic Speakers

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