quibble

verb
quib·​ble | \ˈkwi-bəl \
quibbled; quibbling\ ˈkwi-​b(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of quibble 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to evade the point of an argument by caviling about words

2a : cavil, carp

b : bicker

transitive verb

: to subject to quibbles

quibble

noun

Definition of quibble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an evasion of or shift from the point

2 : a minor objection or criticism

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from quibble

Verb

quibbler \ ˈkwi-​b(ə-​)lər \ noun

Did You Know?

Verb

Quibble can also be a noun meaning "an evasion of or shift from the point" or "a minor objection or criticism." Both forms of the word arrived in English in the mid-17th century. Presumably (though not certainly) quibble originated as a diminutive of a now obsolete word, quib, which also meant "quibble." In fact, although language experts may quibble over this, there is a possibility that quib can be traced back to the plural of the Latin word qui, meaning "who," which was often used in legal documents. If so, that makes quibble a very distant cousin of the English word who.

Examples of quibble in a Sentence

Verb

he spent the entire evening quibbling about the historical inaccuracies in the television series on World War II don't quibble over who gets to sit in front

Noun

Our only quibble about the trip was that it rained a lot.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Naturally, there will be more quibbling if Porter someday lives up to the Durant comparison. Bob Ford, Philly.com, "Passing on Michael Porter Jr. in NBA draft shows change in how Sixers view themselves | Bob Ford," 22 June 2018 A few hours later, after a 7-0 victory over the Marlins, Roberts could not quibble with the results. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Everything clicks as Dodgers end six-game losing streak with 7-0 win over Marlins," 17 May 2018 Some could quibble with the logic of that argument, given that Cleveland and Miami are different places where James has already won titles. Des Bieler, chicagotribune.com, "LaVar Ball says his son will make LeBron James 'better' - as long as Lonzo has the ball," 4 July 2018 While quibbling with one another over details, Anaya and Meade embrace the market friendly economic policies that have taken root in Mexico since the 1980s. Dudley Althaus, San Antonio Express-News, "Appealing to populists, Lopez Obrador on verge of winning Mexico’s presidency," 22 June 2018 Image With the Yankees holding the best record in baseball, Hal Steinbrenner has very little to quibble about. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Yankees Fall to Nationals as Steinbrenner Hints at Pitching Acquisition," 13 June 2018 One thing Torous and others don't quibble with is the need for behavioral-health options. Ken Alltucker, Alex Connor And Jayne O'donnell, USA TODAY, "Mobile therapy apps: With suicide rates on the rise, can text chats rescue those on the edge?," 15 June 2018 While there are dozens of categories trade negotiators can quibble over, for the U.S., the big items the Chinese may target are agriculture — pork and soybeans. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "Will China follow its own advice and make a ‘wise choice’?," 15 June 2018 Not many Americans want to repeal the Second Amendment or quibble with the rights of Americans to own a weapon for hunting game, or for self-defense by a responsible citizens who might confront a robber or an intruder. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Waffle House tragedy shows us how to curb mass killings. Will anyone listen? | Will Bunch," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One minor quibble is that, despite the considerable evidence that Mr. Tucker marshals, his recipe for imbuing central banks with legitimacy seems implausible. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "‘Unelected Power’ Review: Monetary Mavericks," 27 June 2018 From the Eric Reid incident to quibbles with the county over the terms of the lease and now the ongoing mess with the potential new music venue and Lot 27. Paul Dehner Jr., Cincinnati.com, "Bengals Xtra: Jungle Pass risky, intriguing olive branch to fans," 17 June 2018 Instead of looking for quibbles, investors should consider Best Buy’s unusually privileged position among retailers. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Best Buy: Don’t Touch That Omnichannel," 25 May 2018 My only quibble was that the flank steak, sourced from Pat LaFrieda, was chewy. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "A Meal Kit Company With a Global Focus," 19 June 2018 Here's a short list of minor quibbles: The reaction of the characters to critical events and situations can seem unnaturally relaxed. Robert Lloyd, latimes.com, "Spy vs. assassin? It's a pure and perverse matchup in BBC America's 'Killing Eve'," 8 Apr. 2018 Stylistic quibbles aside, what did Shogun World achieve? Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Westworld: A Cut Above," 20 May 2018 Along these lines, a quibble: the area around the microSD slot is too narrow to easily remove the card. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "Lenovo Google virtual reality headset goes wireless like Oculus," 4 May 2018 Actually, the numbers above compare Trump today with Obama and Clinton in October of their midterm years, but that’s a quibble. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Has Obama’s and Clinton’s Re-election Numbers, But Not His Chances," 25 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of quibble

Verb

1665, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quibble

Noun

probably diminutive of obsolete quib quibble

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about quibble

Listen to Our Podcast about quibble

Statistics for quibble

Last Updated

29 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quibble

The first known use of quibble was in 1650

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for quibble

quibble

verb

English Language Learners Definition of quibble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to argue or complain about small, unimportant things

quibble

noun

English Language Learners Definition of quibble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small complaint or criticism usually about something unimportant

quibble

verb
quib·​ble | \ˈkwi-bəl \
quibbled; quibbling

Kids Definition of quibble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to argue or complain about small and unimportant things

quibble

noun

Kids Definition of quibble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small and usually unimportant complaint, criticism, or argument

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on quibble

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

WORD OF THE DAY

by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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