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 While millions of Americans quibble over their glut of three spectacular shots, residents of other countries are wrapped into a far worse conundrum: a paucity of any vaccines at all. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "J&J’s Reputation Needs a Booster Shot," 7 May 2021 But overall, progressives have found little to quibble about. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Alex Padilla, just months into the job, has a year and a half to convince voters he should keep it," 3 May 2021 The bottom line is there always will be room to quibble about the data. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, "Analysis: How serious is the affordable housing problem Issue 3 is supposed to fix?," 29 Apr. 2021 Some commentators want to quibble with the reasoning above, citing the specific language of sections 163 and 165A. Robert Goulder, Forbes, "India’s Evolving Solution To Digital Taxation," 26 Apr. 2021 There’s less to pick at or quibble with here than any position on this team. David Moore, Dallas News, "Pre-draft position preview: WR trio gives Cowboys chance to be among NFL’s most explosive offenses," 7 Apr. 2021 Viewers who care more about romance than historical accuracy will be too busy swooning to quibble. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "10 best things our critics are watching this week," 1 Apr. 2021 The ballots themselves don’t provide much to quibble about: a yes or no box to be filled in. Fortune, "A historic election at Alabama’s Amazon facility ended Monday as workers seek to unionize," 29 Mar. 2021 Provided that quantum mechanics is correct — an assumption few would quibble with — the team’s argument essentially guarantees that complex numbers are an unavoidable part of our description of the physical universe. Quanta Magazine, "Imaginary Numbers May Be Essential for Describing Reality," 3 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun My one quibble are the roasted sweet potatoes, which would be better without what tastes like granola sprinkled over them. Washington Post, "There’s a lot in the name, and on the plate, at Ruthie’s All-Day in Arlington," 30 Apr. 2021 Minor quibble: If the Grisha are persecuted, and people know the Grisha testers can’t test children who are injured, wouldn’t the testers come back? Devon Maloney, Vulture, "Shadow and Bone," 24 Apr. 2021 Getting the tone right might sound like a ridiculous quibble at a moment of such heightened excitement and concern regarding the pandemic. Kent Sepkowitz, CNN, "Now the CDC wants to shut down 'hygiene theater'," 21 Apr. 2021 The usual context in which this quibble is raised is immigration. Michael Mcgough Los Angeles Times (tns), Star Tribune, "This again? Of course Kamala Harris is a citizen," 14 Aug. 2020 Another quibble is that Metz never gives his own assessment of how far AI has really advanced. Calum Chace, Forbes, "The Mavericks Who Brought AI to the World - Review of “Genius Makers” by Cade Metz," 7 Apr. 2021 One small quibble is with the less-than-refined interior detail materials. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Hybrid Vehicles of 2021," 5 Apr. 2021 Beth Harmon’s hair was actually closer to titian than tangerine, but that’s a minor quibble. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Gigi Hadid Just Walked Her First Runway Since Becoming a Mom," 5 Mar. 2021 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

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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quibble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quibble. Accessed 14 May. 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

Comments on quibble

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