nob·​ble | \ ˈnä-bəl How to pronounce nobble (audio) \
nobbled; nobbling\ ˈnä-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce nobble (audio) \

Definition of nobble

transitive verb

1 British : to incapacitate (a racehorse) especially by drugging
2 British slang
a : to win over to one's side
b : steal
d : to get hold of : catch

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Other Words from nobble

nobbler \ ˈnä-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce nobble (audio) \ noun

Examples of nobble in a Sentence

We found out later that the horse had been nobbled, which explained its poor performance. She was trying to nobble the jury.
Recent Examples on the Web Poland’s ruling party has tried to nobble the courts and the civil service. The Economist, "Central and eastern Europeans are mostly happy with progress since 1989," 31 Oct. 2019 Lacking a supermajority to amend the constitution, PiS did the next best thing and nobbled the constitutional tribunal. The Economist, "Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party is doing lasting damage," 21 Apr. 2018 In Hungary, having nobbled the courts, media and public prosecutor, Viktor Orban is squeezing civil society and using state (and EU) funds to nurture oligarchs. The Economist, "The EU should get tough on its illiberal democracies," 19 Apr. 2018

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

1847, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nobble

perhaps irregular frequentative of nab

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Time Traveler for nobble

Time Traveler

The first known use of nobble was in 1847

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Cite this Entry

“Nobble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce nobble (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nobble

British, informal
: to give a drug to (a horse) to keep it from winning a race
: to cause or force (someone) to do something that you want by offering money, making threats, etc.
: to succeed in getting or catching (something or someone)

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