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

Example Sentences

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
Here's a development that will surely smooth over the current squabble between former Pink Floyd bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 9 Feb. 2023 The squabble between ​the two presidents goes beyond the fate of a pair of white Pungsans, a dog breed indigenous to North Korea. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, 15 Dec. 2022 The recent public squabble between former NBA great and beloved San Diego booster Bill Walton and Mayor Todd Gloria exposed public anger at the growing homeless population on the streets of San Diego. Jim Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Oct. 2022 One last petty squabble over spilled coffee convinced him to leave Nordstrom Rack one day with a solution: a 12-ounce, synlawn-green, collapsible Stojo cup. Bon Appétit, 4 Nov. 2021 In other news French luxury brand Hermès is in court this week over a squabble with the creator of the MetaBirkins, a collection of 100 digital handbags that look similar to the real thing, and sometimes have sold at similar prices. Marco Quiroz-gutierrez, Fortune Crypto, 3 Feb. 2023 In 2007, Kid Rock came to blows with fellow Anderson ex Lee at the MTV VMAs, though denied the squabble was about the actress. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 25 Jan. 2023 While their frustrations might have made it into the music in the past, the squabble reflects how these days, accusations are made in an interview chair instead of inside a recording booth. Juan J. Arroyo, Rolling Stone, 29 Dec. 2022 This isn't the first time Journey has been in the news for a squabble between bandmates. Rasha Ali, USA TODAY, 22 Dec. 2022
She’s often expected to return to her hometown and/or to squabble with a handsome guy who turns out to be OK after all. Mike Hughes, The Enquirer, 27 Nov. 2021 As Republicans continue to squabble over who will be the next speaker, there are essentially no members in the U.S. House of Representatives — only members-elect. Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Jan. 2023 Subtle changes in female preferences lead to male fish with slightly different colour schemes, which have a good chance of breeding successfully as other males squabble around them. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 21 Oct. 2010 Since that deal, European countries have shown the capacity to squabble about even the smallest quantities of new arrivals. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2022 Trial lawyers are expected to squabble over the relevance of the opposing party’s evidence — and, in the private sector, they are compensated handsomely for doing so. Ava Kofman, ProPublica, 28 Nov. 2022 Trial lawyers are expected to squabble over the relevance of the opposing party’s evidence—and, in the private sector, they are compensated handsomely for doing so. Ava Kofman, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2022 Nations of the world continue to squabble and finger-point, mostly producing lofty goals which are then unfulfilled for lack of commitment and cooperation. David Peterson, Arkansas Online, 17 Nov. 2022 Unfortunately, celebs aren’t the only ones that squabble over finances. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 2 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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 21 Mar. 2023.

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

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