- 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 nibbling
In the Cavour high school in central Rome, mice run through the halls, nibbling on open wiring and nesting in the lockers.In Italy, Angry Students Occupy Schools
Barbie Latza Nadeau
November 22, 2012
Mealtimes encourage appetite and togetherness, but the hours in between are also ideal for nibbling.Snack Mixes That Won't Bite Back
December 29, 2009
At last the Rougons were nibbling at the pleasures of the wealthy!The Fortune of the Rougons
All night long they travel, nibbling at their hard corn-bread.
This nibbling policy is all very well, but it doesn't suit cavalry.War Letters of a Public-School Boy
Nibbling pensively at her cinnamon toast, Palla pondered this.The Crimson Tide
Robert W. Chambers
"I must make this division equal," and he kept on nibbling at the cheese.Golden Moments
- (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 nibbling
1650s, "act of nibbling," from nibble (v.). As "a small bite," from 1838.
"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.