quibble

verb
quib·​ble | \ ˈkwi-bəl How to pronounce quibble (audio) \
quibbled; quibbling\ ˈkwi-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce quibble (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 quibble (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 But someone looking at our line budget might quibble with that interpretation. Devon Ivie, Vulture, "John Oliver Is Taking Last Week Tonight’s Mascot Budget ‘to My Grave’," 4 Feb. 2021 Not to quibble with Poeltl’s optimism, but hope can’t be a strategy. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Mike Finger: Out of the bubble, NBA facing reality," 12 Jan. 2021 Their 32 three-pointers per game last season ranked 16th, smack in the middle of the league, and there was little to quibble about considering the offense as a whole ranked amid the five best. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Tyronn Lue wins Clippers debut: 5 takeaways from the game," 23 Dec. 2020 And whom in Mavsville would ever quibble about a Luka-Giannis title series clash? Dallas News, "Giannis Antetokounmpo is staying in Milwaukee, and that’s not necessarily bad news for the Mavericks," 15 Dec. 2020 Minus the tangible evidence a playoff berth would provide, there's more to quibble over regarthe progress 2020 has offered. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, "Our prediction for FC Cincinnati's crucial match with DC United," 17 Oct. 2020 Of course, people will quibble with some of the omissions. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Robert Gehrke: Like the mural in their honor, the history of Utah women should evolve toward inclusiveness," 31 Aug. 2020 Like other long-running hits, the show had to deal with actors coming and going, but who could quibble with a cast that included Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Valerie Harper, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel? oregonlive, "Missing your co-workers? 14 TV workplace comedies to watch while staying home," 2 July 2020 This is the only sensible way to do it, but some people like to quibble. Popular Science, "Nature’s best toilet paper substitutes," 28 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This really isn’t a quibble with the decision, the fourth-and-2 with 7:12 remaining when Smith decided to have Everett Hayes kick a game-tying 26-yard field goal. oregonlive, "Unprecedented stretch in Oregon State history, the last of Jermar Jefferson? 8 takeaways from a 27-24 loss to Stanford," 13 Dec. 2020 That quibble doesn't significantly detract from the show's status as one of Netflix's -- and indeed TV's -- best. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Crown' tackles the Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher years," 10 Nov. 2020 My biggest quibble is that all four of these films start off maddeningly slow, and most could have been cut down considerably without sacrificing much in terms of character development, thematic imagery, or final twisty impact. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Monster Mash: These are the best new horror movies to binge this Halloween," 30 Oct. 2020 Our largest quibble was with the water bottle pockets, which are narrow and not stretchy. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Commuter Backpacks for the Daily Grind," 23 Oct. 2020 This is a minor quibble, since the science is mostly just decorative and secondary to the personal and professional intrigue anyway. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Netflix debuts two solid German offerings with Biohackers and Freaks," 19 Sep. 2020 Sometimes the type doesn’t match the narration, but that’s a quibble. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Disney Plus review: Pondering Pooh, tailing Tigger and peeved by Piglet," 21 Aug. 2020 My only quibble is that the DNC telethon missed a chance to invite one particularly strong woman of color to address the violent big-city elephant in the room. John Kass, Star Tribune, "Big-city violence is the elephant in the virtual room for Democrats," 19 Aug. 2020 The tripod foot is also a bit forward of the balance point of the spotter, which is a minor quibble. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "The 8 Best New Spotting Scopes Put to the Test," 18 Aug. 2020

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

15 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quibble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quibble. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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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 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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Comments on quibble

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