adjective nim·ble \ ˈnim-bəl \
Updated on: 12 Jan 2018

Definition of nimble

nimbler play \ˈnim-b(ə-)lər\; nimblest play \ˈnim-b(ə-)ləst\
1 : quick and light in motion : agile
  • nimble fingers
  • a nimble climber
2 a : marked by quick, alert, clever conception (see conception 3), comprehension (see comprehension 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


play \ˈnim-bəl-nəs\ noun


play \ˈnim-blē\ adverb

Examples of nimble in a Sentence

  1. possessing a nimble wit, he always has a cutting comeback for any intended insult thrown his way

  2. her nimble fingers make knitting look so easy

Recent Examples of nimble from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

nimble Synonyms

alert, brainy, bright, brilliant, clever, exceptional, fast, hyperintelligent, keen, intelligent, quick, quick-witted, sharp, sharp-witted, smart, supersmart, ultrasmart
airheaded, birdbrained, boneheaded, brain-dead, brainless, bubbleheaded, chuckleheaded, dense, dim, dim-witted, doltish, dopey (also dopy), dorky [slang], dull, dumb, dunderheaded, empty-headed, fatuous, gormless [chiefly British], half-witted, knuckleheaded, lamebrain (or lamebrained), lunkheaded, mindless, obtuse, opaque, pinheaded, senseless, simple, slow, slow-witted, soft, softheaded, stupid, thick, thickheaded, thick-witted, unbrilliant, unintelligent, unsmart, vacuous, weak-minded, witless
Related Words
apt, ingenious, resourceful; acute, astute, discerning, heady, insightful, knowing, perceptive, percipient, perspicacious, sagacious, sapient, savvy, wise; cerebral, erudite, genial, highbrow, knowledgeable, learned, literate, scholarly, well-read; educated, informed, schooled, skilled, trained; creative, inventive, judicious, prudent, sage, sane, sapient, sensible, sound, wise; crafty, cunning, foxy, shrewd, wily; logical, rational, reasonable
Near Antonyms
feebleminded, simpleminded; boobish, foolish, half-baked, idiotic (also idiotical), imbecile (or imbecilic), moronic, silly; ignorant, illiterate, lowbrow, nonintellectual, unacademic, uneducated, uninformed, unintellectual, untaught, unthinking; absurd, asinine, balmy, cockeyed, crackpot, crazy, cuckoo, daffy, daft, dippy, dotty, featherheaded, fool, half-baked, harebrained, insane, kooky (also kookie), loony (also looney), lunatic, mad, nonsensical, nutty, preposterous, sappy, screwball, tomfool, unwise, wacky (also whacky), zany

NIMBLE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of nimble for English Language Learners

  • : able to move quickly, easily, and lightly

  • : able to learn and understand things quickly and easily

NIMBLE Defined for Kids


adjective nim·ble \ ˈnim-bəl \

Definition of nimble for Students

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




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

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up nimble? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


something that impedes or restrains

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's That From? A Word Origin Quiz

  • turris-babel-by-athanasius-kircher
  • What language gave the word robot to English?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!