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

Rawson quibbled with testimony from other forensic dentistry experts about the state of the field in 1985, and what was allowable by the profession's guidelines; there were yet no standards in the nascent area of bite mark evidence. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Prosecutor felt suspect was innocent, but dentists convinced him bite marks proved otherwise. They were wrong.," 26 June 2019 Few could quibble with attempts to ensure that police and prosecutors inform victims of developments in their case. The Economist, "Victims get a bigger role in prosecuting those who wronged them," 14 June 2019 The result was a morning of quibbling with James, who often asked several versions of the same question. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost Ship defendant drilled in second day of cross-examination," 19 June 2019 Some quibbled about the 13-0 score, not recognizing goal differential is the first tiebreaker at the World Cup. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: US women aren't backing off at World Cup," 16 June 2019 That hasn't stopped quibbling over his place in NBA ranks, though. SI.com, "Is Draymond Green Really a Top 10 Player?," 21 Mar. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Dealing with competition quibbles is hardly new for Big Tech. The Economist, "American trustbusters are rattling Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple," 6 June 2019 IndyStar columnist has quibbles with the Indianapolis Colts about one of their recent acquistions. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts tackle Antonio Garcia suspended for violating NFL performance-enhancing drug policy," 29 May 2019 Apart from a few minor quibbles, this is pretty much everything fans could hope for in a TV adaptation of Good Omens. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Amazon’s Good Omens is every bit as entertaining as the original novel," 1 June 2019 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 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

7 Jul 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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to complain fretfully

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