Word of the Day : December 5, 2013

quibble

play
verb KWIB-ul

Definition

1 : to evade the point of an argument by caviling about words

2 a : cavil, carp

b : bicker

3 : to subject to minor objections or criticisms

Did You Know?

"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

There always seemed to be one person at the meeting who wanted to quibble over the fine points rather than focus on the larger plan.

"I could quibble about some points in the job search section but the author is so generous with her advice and samples that I'd rather not pick at the little things." - From an article by Amy Lindgren in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 9, 2013



Name That Synonym

What 7-letter synonym of "quibble" begins with "n"? The answer is …


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!