1 of 2


squab·​ble ˈskwä-bəl How to pronounce squabble (audio)
: a noisy altercation or quarrel usually over petty matters


2 of 2


squabbled; squabbling ˈskwä-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce squabble (audio)

intransitive verb

: to quarrel noisily and usually over petty matters
squabbler noun
Choose the Right Synonym for squabble

quarrel, wrangle, altercation, squabble mean a noisy dispute usually marked by anger.

quarrel implies heated verbal contention, stressing strained or severed relations which may persist beyond the contention.

a quarrel nearly destroyed the relationship

wrangle suggests undignified and often futile disputation with a noisy insistence on differing opinions.

wrangle interminably about small issues

altercation implies fighting with words as the chief weapon, although it may also connote blows.

a loud public altercation

squabble stresses childish and unseemly dispute over petty matters, but it need not imply bitterness or anger.

a brief squabble over what to do next

Examples of squabble in a Sentence

Noun frightened by noise of the squabble, the cat hid under the couch Verb The children were squabbling over the toys. the children squabbled loudly over who got to play with the toy first
Recent Examples on the Web
Sometimes star and director squabble in a polite way. Stephen Rodrick, Variety, 9 May 2024 So the Bravo machine churns out squabble after squabble; musicians conjure embittered origin stories. TIME, 7 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for squabble 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'squabble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish dialect skvabbel dispute

First Known Use


1602, in the meaning defined above


1604, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of squabble was in 1602

Dictionary Entries Near squabble

Cite this Entry

“Squabble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squabble. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
squab·​ble ˈskwäb-əl How to pronounce squabble (audio)
: a noisy quarrel usually over unimportant things


2 of 2 verb
squabbled; squabbling ˈskwäb-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce squabble (audio)
: to quarrel noisily for little or no reason : wrangle
squabbler noun

More from Merriam-Webster on squabble

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