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

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

So the first time is in 2012 with my husband in couples therapy with the quibbling over the remodel, and then in 2013 with my individual therapist. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Every time Ford and Kavanaugh answered the question — and didn't answer the question," 28 Sep. 2018 But that’s quibbling, and the time for armchair quarterbacking is over. David Roberts, Vox, "Washington votes no on a carbon tax — again," 6 Nov. 2018 Some might quibble about the title, for a start, given that Guy-Blache's story has not gone entirely without telling by scholars. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 13 May 2018 This might be why Musk is now quibbling about the edit. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Elon Musk doesn’t respect the SEC, which is still investigating Tesla," 14 Dec. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My only quibble is that the 6T’s earpiece — sitting at the top edge of the phone, pushed out of the ultra minimalist notch — tends to gather dust and debris a little too easily. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "OnePlus 6T review: revised formula, same results," 29 Oct. 2018 That's a minor quibble for an app of this complexity. Keith Law, Ars Technica, "Review: Mega-hit boardgame Scythe goes digital on Steam," 15 Sep. 2018 But these wind up seeming like minor quibbles as the tension builds and the truth unfolds. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Apostle takes The Wicker Man to a radical new level," 12 Oct. 2018 But there is such a bewildering amount of high-quality content in the game that those complaints are mere quibbles. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2018," 24 Dec. 2018 But these are relative quibbles next to the millions of lives saved. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Trump signed a good law this week. Yes, really.," 12 Dec. 2018 These quibbles notwithstanding, on the whole the technocrats are right. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "A $2.6 Trillion Economy Depends on a Credible Central Bank," 1 Nov. 2018 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

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

17 Feb 2019

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 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

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

Comments on quibble

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