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



Definition of quibble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an evasion of or shift from the point
2 : a minor objection or criticism

Other Words from quibble


quibbler \ ˈkwi-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce quibble (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for quibble

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

Quibble is most familiar as a verb, but it can also function as a noun meaning "an evasion of or shift from the point" and "a minor objection or criticism." Both forms of quibble settled into English in the mid-17th century, presumably (though not definitively) as a diminutive of a now-obsolete noun quib, meaning “quibble.” Quib in turn may have come from a form of Latin qui, meaning “who,” a distant relation also of our 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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In a broad sense, there is little to quibble with in this analysis. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 15 July 2022 Few can quibble with discussions on helping Ukraine and additional Russian sanctions. William Pesek, Forbes, 24 June 2022 And there's room to quibble about micro-level decisions along the way. Rahat Huq, Chron, 7 Mar. 2022 His tone was indicative of his expectations, even on a day when the results left little with which to quibble. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 8 May 2022 Agree or disagree, quibble over facts or impact, but there is a powerful narrative to be told. John Zogby, Forbes, 22 Apr. 2022 Crypto advocates often quibble with these statistics. New York Times, 5 Jan. 2022 But there is no more to quibble over here than there is in any academic text. Julian Baggini, WSJ, 3 Feb. 2022 Seems to me that, if the scientists don’t want film critics to quibble with the science, the scientists should stop meddling with the art. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 6 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Minor quibble here, but what exactly happened with the Upside Down rifts in the end? Erik Kain, Forbes, 6 July 2022 But the main quibble has to do with Ivory’s memories of the prurient kind. John Tamny, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 One minor quibble: the distinctive green outer cover was quick to smudge in our tests, so don't count on the hose looking new for long. Dan Diclerico, Good Housekeeping, 18 Apr. 2022 Our only minor quibble is that the power button is a bit too easy to access, making accidental presses a real possibility when stashed in a backpack. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 13 May 2022 Our only quibble: the vest has lots of excess stretchy loops and ties for adjusting fit, carrying poles, and securing flasks that take a while to figure out. Peter Koch, Outside Online, 10 May 2020 Our only real quibble is that instructions for some meals are unclear or non-existent, which required a bit of trial-and-error on our part to prepare. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 29 Apr. 2022 My only quibble is the smell, which is initially pretty strong and distinct but subsides after it’s rubbed in. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, 8 Apr. 2022 That’s a small quibble to make of a novel that is pure pleasure to read. Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of quibble


1665, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quibble


probably diminutive of obsolete quib quibble

Learn More About quibble

Time Traveler for quibble

Time Traveler

The first known use of quibble was in 1650

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About quibble

Dictionary Entries Near quibble




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for quibble

Last Updated

21 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quibble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quibble. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for quibble


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



Kids Definition of quibble (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small and usually unimportant complaint, criticism, or argument

More from Merriam-Webster on quibble

Nglish: Translation of quibble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quibble for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!