squab·​ble | \ ˈskwä-bəl How to pronounce squabble (audio) \

Definition of squabble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a noisy altercation or quarrel usually over petty matters


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

Definition of squabble (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to quarrel noisily and usually over petty matters

Other Words from squabble


squabbler \ ˈskwä-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce squabble (audio) \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nine years later, Swift has unleashed the album's re-release, Red (Taylor's Version), after a very public squabble over her masters with nemesis Scooter Braun and former label exec Scott Borchetta and (more on that here). Jeff Nelson, PEOPLE.com, 12 Nov. 2021 Stephon Gilmore is certainly not the first Patriot to be shipped out of town following a contract squabble. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Nov. 2021 On its face, the nasty squabble that broke out last week between Britain and France was over the fishing rights of a few dozen French trawlers plying British waters off the island of Jersey. New York Times, 4 Nov. 2021 So the current impasse between progressive House Democrats and centrist lawmakers like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona adds up to more than the usual Washington intra-party squabble. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 29 Sep. 2021 The squabble has caused a rift between Republicans who vehemently oppose any mandates to mitigate COVID-19 and those who still see Thompson, who served four terms as governor, as a GOP icon. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2021 Gordon was in a contract squabble with the Royals, one that would end with him leaving as a free agent. Star Tribune, 6 May 2021 But interest rates are not increasing and there is no stress on the federal government’s ability to pay even though the political willingness to pay is mired in a political squabble. Teresa Ghilarducci, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Sometimes a fight broke out, and the staff would guide those in the squabble to separate ends of the shelter. James Ross Gardner, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And leaders squabble over just how much should be spent on improving the customer experience when customer retention remains strong. Jon Picoult, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 Yet, many people squabble over what exactly to focus on. Josh Felber, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 The two appear to briefly argue and squabble while moving away from officers. Sylvia Goodman, chicagotribune.com, 5 Oct. 2021 Bethaney arrives with good vibes and great advice; Candace and Gus squabble over his sister’s visit; Jeremiah takes their guest on a romantic boat ride; Gus decides to start fresh for the new year. Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2021 The two often squabble over naming rights, and that’s sure to be a running joke in the show as well. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 13 Sep. 2021 While lawmakers squabble on Capitol Hill, Ms. Yellen’s team at Treasury has been trying to buy as much time as possible. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 That’s a departure from Greenberg, who often would avoid or squabble with commissioners. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, 12 Aug. 2021 That's one reason government formation is so fraught today: the parties representing the three largest sects -- Sunni, Shiite and Maronite -- often squabble over control of the most important ministries. Mohamad Bazzi, CNN, 3 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'squabble.' 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 squabble


1602, in the meaning defined above


1604, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for squabble


probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Swedish dialect skvabbel dispute

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The first known use of squabble was in 1602

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Last Updated

23 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Squabble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/squabble. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for squabble



English Language Learners Definition of squabble

: to argue loudly about things that are not important


squab·​ble | \ ˈskwä-bəl How to pronounce squabble (audio) \

Kids Definition of squabble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a noisy quarrel usually over something unimportant


squabbled; squabbling

Kids Definition of squabble (Entry 2 of 2)

: to quarrel noisily for little or no reason

More from Merriam-Webster on squabble

Nglish: Translation of squabble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of squabble for Arabic Speakers


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