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

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Other Words from quibble

Verb

quibbler \ˈkwi-​b(ə-​)lər \ noun

Synonyms for quibble

Synonyms: Verb

carp, cavil, fuss, niggle, nitpick

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The all-male, all-white members of the committee questioned her credibility and quibbled with her over the lurid details of her account. Isaac Stanley-becker, The Seattle Times, "Anita Hill’s claims echo in allegation against Kavanaugh. Three decades later, will anything be different?," 17 Sep. 2018 Preservationists quibbled that the new windows were not historically accurate, so Ford will have to decide whether to replace those windows with something more in line with the station's historical appearance. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Restoring Michigan Central Station will take years — and lots of money," 17 June 2018 Those familiar with the Civil War, or the mistreatment of Native Americans or the internment of Japanese Americans, among other dark chapters in the past, might quibble with such hyperbole. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Hillary Clinton warns of ‘a full-fledged crisis in our democracy’ at Yale," 21 May 2018 There are some who might quibble with the decision to cast a movie star as a woman of extremely limited means — a judgment that effectively reduces good acting to a purity test, rather than a feat of imaginative empathy. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Where Is Kyra?': Michelle Pfeiffer's brilliant performance holds the answer," 12 Apr. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My other quibbles with the Compass are few and far between. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Good drive, good value: The Jeep Compass Latitude reviewed," 29 Nov. 2018 Our only quibble: The car seat cover is handwash only. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "Infant Car Seat Reviews," 10 June 2011 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for quibble

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quibble

The first known use of quibble was in 1650

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on quibble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quibble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quibble

Spanish Central: Translation of quibble

Nglish: Translation of quibble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quibble for Arabic Speakers

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