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 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 Historians have quibbled over minor inaccuracies, but better to get lost in the mood of this very different time. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Missing Bay Area sports? Watch one of these 10 greatest sports movies of all time," 14 Mar. 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 Barr and Durham both quibbled with Horowitz’s conclusion that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly predicated in the summer of 2016. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Barr says evidence from Durham investigation is ‘far more troubling’ than mistakes or sloppiness," 9 Apr. 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 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 Our only quibble was that there were no secure tie-downs for the wheelchair. Ryan D'agostino, Car and Driver, "Winnebago Builds a More Accessible RV to Help Everyone Get Away," 16 Aug. 2020 All this hand-wringing over Vero cells isn’t just a minor scientific quibble. Roxanne Khamsi, Wired, "Scientists May Be Using the Wrong Cells to Study Covid-19," 6 Aug. 2020 But that's a minor quibble with an otherwise excellent season. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Family affairs: Everyone learns they can’t go home again in Killing Eve S3," 2 June 2020 One quibble with the recipe though: Letting the cookies cool for an hour defeats their purpose, pull them off after 30 minutes. Noah Kaufman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Our Favorite Hotels Released Their Top-Secret Recipes—And We Can’t Stop Making Them," 8 May 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

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quibble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quibble. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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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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Comments on quibble

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