nig·​gle | \ ˈni-gəl How to pronounce niggle (audio) \
niggled; niggling\ ˈni-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce niggle (audio) \

Definition of niggle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : trifle
b : to spend too much effort on minor details
2 : to find fault constantly in a petty way : carp she haggles, she niggles, she wears out our patience— Virginia Woolf
3 : gnaw

transitive verb

: to give stingily or in tiny portions



Definition of niggle (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British
: a trifling doubt, objection, or complaint

Other Words from niggle


niggler \ ˈni-​g(ə-​)lər How to pronounce niggle (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for niggle

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of niggle in a Sentence

Verb She had been niggled by worry her entire life. He's always niggling over small details. Noun I've had a knee niggle for the past few days. He has a bit of a niggle in his back. I have a few minor niggles about the performance.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That said, without examples of what the ERA might change, the accusations of its largely symbolic status — lodged by some of the characters in the series — continue to niggle. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Apr. 2020 Something about this might niggle at the back of the mind as the hours go by. Stephanie Rosenbloom, New York Times, 2 Dec. 2019 Stocksy As a result, a food bully niggles a friend into ordering her way to justify her own decisions. Diane Stopyra, Marie Claire, 24 May 2019 As a result, a food bully niggles a friend into ordering her way to justify her own decisions. Diane Stopyra, Marie Claire, 24 May 2019 While her teammates niggled and nudged to frustrate England, her method was more classical., 14 June 2019 The 29-year-old England international, who has once more seen his season disrupted by niggling fitness problems, would boost Chelsea's small squad, with games set to keep coming thick and fast over the next few weeks and months., 16 Jan. 2018 With City skipper Vincent Kompany still being hampered by niggling injuries, John Stones recuperating from a hamstring strain and Eliaquim Mangala not rated by the Spaniard, the current league leaders are eager to bolster their defensive ranks., 26 Dec. 2017 That is because government watchdogs don’t niggle small business lenders for allowing discretionary overrides or customizing credit scoring. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Any niggle or glitch can be gone in an instant, just point and swish and the obstacle is overcome. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 18 Oct. 2021 This is just a minor niggle since the app’s functionality is far more important than the interface. Zach Epstein, BGR, 14 Aug. 2021 One final niggle is that despite carrying much less text, the new menu graphics occupy a large chunk of the screen. John Archer, Forbes, 19 Mar. 2021 This symbiotic relationship has now struck again, with owners of the latest X series of LG OLED TVs spotting another niggle with their mostly beloved TVs’ pictures that has LG has again quickly promised to get sorted. John Archer, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2021 Many people have adapted by taking up meditation or mindfulness, and in the process have made peace with the doubts and self-criticism that niggle at the back of their brains. oregonlive, 27 Apr. 2020 Leandro Trossard, who created Lucas Digne's dramatic late own goal in the victory over Everton, is in contention to start for Brighton despite picking up a niggle, while wing-back Ezequiel Scholetto could also be in contention for a start., 30 Oct. 2019 The England international made just 16 appearance last season as he was hampered by various knocks and niggles, failing to score or assist., 17 Oct. 2019 For those that can set niggles aside, there's a lot to Ad Astra. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 20 Sep. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'niggle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of niggle


1599, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for niggle


origin unknown

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Cite this Entry

“Niggle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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Britannica English: Translation of niggle for Arabic Speakers


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