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 Sackler quibbles over whether patients could develop a tolerance to OxyContin, as stipulated in the 2007 agreed statement of facts. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "Watch Richard Sackler Deny His Family’s Role in the Opioid Crisis," 27 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 Questioning Rwanda’s statistics may seem to be no more than quibbling over numbers. The Economist, "Has Rwanda been fiddling its numbers?," 17 Aug. 2019 Costumes, dialogue choices and editorial decisions are dissected; critics quibble over which adaptation should become canon. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "The New ‘Little Women’ May Finally Do Justice to Its Most Controversial Character," 14 Aug. 2019 After spending weeks quibbling over the details, the Budget and Finance Committee reached an agreement with Mayor London Breed shortly before midnight Wednesday on how to spend the city’s $12 billion budget for the next two fiscal years. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "Supervisors reach deal with mayor on $12 billion city budget," 27 June 2019 But why anybody would bother to quibble about the finer details of something so delicious is beyond me. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Everything you need to know about hot chicken in metro Phoenix — including where to find the spiciest," 26 June 2019 Naysayers have downplayed such estimates and quibbled with the administration’s accounting, accusing it, for example, of taking credit for efforts that actually began under Obama. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "The Trump Economy," 25 July 2019 Still, scholars and Cuban expatriates will quibble with Hansen’s characterization of the revolution’s radical turn subsequently. Michael J. Bustamante, Washington Post, "Portrait of a young Castro, drawn from his personal archive," 5 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s just one small quibble – and that’s with Elaine’s choice to block Jason’s vote. Stephen Fishbach, PEOPLE.com, "Survivor Recap: A 4-4 Showdown — and the Perfect Advantage," 30 Oct. 2019 Indeed, Maddon may have been too effective for his own good: Whatever quibbles might fairly be raised about his tenure, his exit was hastened by the magnitude and immediacy of his success. David Baumgarten, The Atlantic, "So Long, Joe Maddon," 10 Oct. 2019 Smith-Schuster, while thankfully not duplicating any of Brown’s quibbles or quirks, so far has pedestrian averages of 5.5 catches and 81 yards in two games after making the Pro Bowl following a 111-catch, 1,426-yard season last year. Jon Becker, The Mercury News, "Focus on Pittsburgh: Without Roethlisberger, are Steelers a threat to 49ers?," 17 Sep. 2019 That seemingly minor quibble of semantics is crucial. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "Park or Playground? Semantics Dispute Illuminates Preservationists’ Fight," 1 Jan. 2018 My only quibble would be that Brady shouldn’t have been dropping back to throw so many times midway through the fourth quarter with a 30-point cushion. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "On opening night, Patriots defense was steel-tough," 8 Sep. 2019 One small quibble: the Dungeness crab hash could use more crab and less potatoes. San Diego Union-Tribune, "We hate brunch. But we love these 10 brunch spots," 8 Aug. 2019 But with how delicious everything else was, these are very small quibbles. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "At Elephant Bar in St. Paul’s Lowertown, it’s all rich flavors, spice and beautiful plates," 1 Aug. 2019 Dealing with competition quibbles is hardly new for Big Tech. The Economist, "American trustbusters are rattling Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple," 6 June 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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Statistics for quibble

Time Traveler for quibble

The first known use of quibble was in 1650

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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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