- to bite off small bits.
- to eat or chew in small bites: Give him a graham cracker to nibble on.
- to bite, eat, or chew gently and in small amounts (usually followed by at): She was so upset she could only nibble at her food.
- to bite off small bits of (something).
- to eat (food) by biting off small pieces.
- to bite in small bits: He nibbled each morsel with great deliberation.
- a small morsel or bit: Each nibble was eaten with the air of an epicure.
- an act or instance of nibbling.
- a response by a fish to bait on a fishing line.
- any preliminary positive response or reaction.
- nibble away at, to cause to decrease or diminish bit by bit: Inflation was nibbling away at her savings. The rains nibbled at the loam.Also nibble at.
Origin of nibble
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for nibble
Will he nibble around the edges, or will he actually take on the oil companies?Clinton’s Environmental Failure
December 9, 2012
Would he be able to nibble on foie gras, slurp fettuccine Alfredo, and sample chocolate mousse without putting on weight again?Frank Bruni Revealed
August 18, 2009
He had only meant to nibble, and here he was, fairly hooked.
Her relative continued to nibble nervously at a bit of toast.Ruggles of Red Gap
Harry Leon Wilson
But we have lost our hats, Nibble, and they were our best ones.Five Mice in a Mouse-trap
Laura E. Richards
Granted that Arlt, whoever he is, gets second nibble, who comes in ahead?The Dominant Strain
Anna Chapin Ray
On two different occasions, feeling a nibble on his line, he jerked, all to no avail.Tales of Fishes
- (esp of animals, such as mice) to take small repeated bites (of)
- to take dainty or tentative bitesto nibble at a cake
- to bite (at) gently or caressingly
- (intr) to make petty criticisms
- (intr) to consider tentatively or cautiouslyto nibble at an idea
- a small mouthful
- an instance or the act of nibbling
- (plural) informal small items of food, esp savouries, usually served with drinks
Word Origin and History for nibble
"to bite gently," c.1500, perhaps from Low German nibbeln "to nibble, gnaw," related to Middle Low German nibbelen, Middle Dutch knibbelen "to gnaw," source of Dutch knibbelen "to cavail, squabble." Related: Nibbled; nibbling.
1650s, "act of nibbling," from nibble (v.). As "a small bite," from 1838.