nim·​ble | \ ˈnim-bəl How to pronounce nimble (audio) \
nimbler\ ˈnim-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce nimble (audio) \; nimblest\ ˈnim-​b(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce nimble (audio) \

Definition of nimble

1 : quick and light in motion : agile nimble fingers a nimble climber
2a : marked by quick, alert, clever conception (see conception sense 3), comprehension (see comprehension sense 1a), or resourcefulness a nimble mind nimble investors
b : responsive, sensitive a nimble listener nothing like playacting to make you nimble in your feelings— Mary Austin

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Other Words from nimble

nimbleness \ ˈnim-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce nimble (audio) \ noun
nimbly \ ˈnim-​blē How to pronounce nimble (audio) \ adverb

Examples of nimble in a Sentence

possessing a nimble wit, he always has a cutting comeback for any intended insult thrown his way her nimble fingers make knitting look so easy
Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps the biggest question, Grubert says, is how to make power grids nimble enough to make energy reserves useful, without going overboard. Gregory Barber, Wired, "When the Grid Goes Down, Can a Fleet of Batteries Replace It?," 24 Feb. 2021 Why can’t orchestras be nimble and respond to sudden inspiration, or current events? New York Times, "Notes Toward Reinventing the American Orchestra," 12 Feb. 2021 Public authorities are ponderous, rigid and slow; the new germs are nimble, flexible and fast. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Peter Huber on the Plague," 11 Jan. 2021 With its 22-inch barrel and trim 6-pound 11-ounce weight, the rifle is handy, nimble, and a very capable deer gun. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "We Tested the Best-Selling Affordable Deer Rifles, Scopes, and Ammo. Here Are Our Top Picks," 6 Nov. 2020 The studio has answered in ways inventive, nimble, and enlivening. Dan Piepenbring, The New Yorker, "How a Revered Studio for Artists with Disabilities Is Surviving at a Distance," 24 Sep. 2020 If Kyler Murray gets blindsided by a particularly nasty hit in the pocket this season, keep your eyes on how the nimble, and newly more muscular, 5-foot-10 quarterback reacts, rolls and recovers should he get pancaked. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, "Kyler Murray plans to cut sack total in half, stay healthy though range of motion training," 13 Sep. 2020 Numbers like these make the LUV and the Toyota more nimble, more maneuverable, and easier to park than the chunky full-sized brands. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1979 Chevrolet LUV vs. 1979 Toyota 4wd," 26 Aug. 2020 Critics of Eversource Energy on Monday called for a new business model that would break up the familiar regulated monopoly and replace it with a more nimble, accountable and affordable utility. Stephen Singer,, "Critics at hearing call for breaking up Eversource and replacing it with new electric utility business model that’s smaller and more accountable," 24 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nimble.' 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 nimble

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nimble

Middle English nimel, from Old English numol holding much, from niman to take; akin to Old High German neman to take, Greek nemein to distribute, manage, nomos pasture, nomos usage, custom, law

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Time Traveler for nimble

Time Traveler

The first known use of nimble was in the 14th century

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Statistics for nimble

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nimble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for nimble



English Language Learners Definition of nimble

: able to move quickly, easily, and lightly
: able to learn and understand things quickly and easily


nim·​ble | \ ˈnim-bəl How to pronounce nimble (audio) \
nimbler; nimblest

Kids Definition of nimble

1 : quick and light in motion : agile a nimble dancer
2 : quick in understanding and learning : clever a nimble mind

Other Words from nimble

nimbleness noun
nimbly \ -​blē \ adverb Then the vendors had to dodge nimbly to avoid being trampled under the heavy hooves … — Laurence Yep, Dragonwings

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