quibble

verb
quib·​ble | \ ˈkwi-bəl How to pronounce quibble (audio) \
quibbled; quibbling\ ˈkwi-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce quibbling (audio) \

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 How to pronounce quibbler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for quibble

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Some might quibble that Carlson, who acted first, deserved center stage. Jake Coyle, chicagotribune.com, "Review: ‘Bombshell’ breezes through a Fox News rebellion," 12 Dec. 2019 One can quibble around the length of time considered for renewing. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Lessons seen in ill-fated water-rail plan," 9 Nov. 2019 The two have have quibbled over both policies and tactics during their six months together in the House but recently appeared to unify after President Donald Trump made racist attacks against four minority members of Congress. Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY, "'I’m looking forward to it': Pelosi minimizes tensions with Ocasio-Cortez ahead of meeting," 17 July 2019 Still, those ideas — about the betrayals inherent in love, democracy and musicals themselves — are too exciting and important to dismiss by quibbling them to death. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "‘Soft Power’ reviews at the Public Theater veer from ‘revolutionary’ to ‘nonsense’," 16 Oct. 2019 Still, those ideas — about the betrayals inherent in love, democracy and musicals themselves — are too exciting and important to dismiss by quibbling them to death. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In the Musical ‘Soft Power,’ China Whistles the Tune," 15 Oct. 2019 Telling people to bring their own food and then quibbling with the results is unfair and counterproductive. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Potluck hosts can’t be mad about unpredictable results," 16 Aug. 2019 Questioning Rwanda’s statistics may seem to be no more than quibbling over numbers. The Economist, "Has Rwanda been fiddling its numbers?," 15 Aug. 2019 Now just imagine the uproar if the federation’s lawyers are seen to be quibbling over dollar signs as all of America is celebrating its latest team of sweethearts. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: More than title at stake for USWNT in World Cup final. Trophy would boost legal case," 6 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun My lone quibble: The three slices of cheddar were overkill and didn’t completely melt. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: A fresh look at ‘old’ Hard Rock restaurants Kuro, the Bol and a gilded burger at Hard Rock Cafe," 24 Oct. 2019 Leonhard quibbles with that characterization, though. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "After an Uncharacteristic 2018, Wisconsin's Staunch Defense Is Back," 26 Sep. 2019 That led to a quibble between Impossible and regulators. Washington Post, "What makes Impossible meat possible? A “bloody” ingredient," 20 Sep. 2019 That led to a quibble between Impossible and regulators. San Diego Union-Tribune, "What makes Impossible meat possible? A “bloody” ingredient," 20 Sep. 2019 But these are quibbles that will be fun to debate in the coming weeks. Julie Washington, cleveland, "‘The Rise of Skywalker’ an emotional, gasp-inducing conclusion to ‘Star Wars’ trilogy," 18 Dec. 2019 Such quibbles, however, are clearly intended to be glossed over by the movie's generosity of spirit, and moments like people spontaneously bursting into song at the sight of Mr. Rogers, sequences as difficult to resist as the man himself. Brian Lowry, CNN, "It's a more beautiful 'Neighborhood' when Mister Rogers is in it," 22 Nov. 2019 But you quickly get used to such quibbles, as this is far from the only luxury hauler with this issue. Larry Printz, chicagotribune.com, "With the Levante GTS, Maserati proves its mastery of Ferrari-powered SUVs," 8 Nov. 2019 Along the way, there will be quibbles about open floor plans vs. heritage charm, lack of closet space, an outdated kitchen or atrocious commute times. Anchorage Daily News, "For 20 years, ‘House Hunters’ has been reliable reality TV. For millennials, it feels more like a fantasy.," 29 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for quibble

Time Traveler

The first known use of quibble was in 1650

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Statistics for quibble

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quibble.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quibble. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for quibble

quibble

verb
How to pronounce quibble (audio)

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 How to pronounce quibble (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quibble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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