- an instance of the use of ambiguous, prevaricating, or irrelevant language or arguments to evade a point at issue.
- the general use of such arguments.
- petty or carping criticism; a minor objection.
- to equivocate.
- to carp; cavil.
Origin of quibble
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for quibble
A weird thing to quibble about, considering he is a moon landing denier.Dear Moon Landing Deniers: Sorry I Called You Moon Landing Deniers
July 29, 2014
There are several other things in the Wiki vs. doctors article to quibble about, which the authors generously note.How Wikipedia Is Like Your Doctor
May 31, 2014
This quibble aside, “Breakfast with Mugabe” offers food for thought.Searching Hard for Mugabe’s Conscience
January 19, 2014
You can quibble about beginnings, middles and ends but what we're talking about is over a year ago.Anthony Weiner Is Probably Sexting Right Now
July 30, 2013
You can quibble with the “vast” part, I guess, depending on how you define that word.One’s a Weiner, the Other a Hero: Why Bill and Hillary Have Nothing in Common With Anthony and Huma
July 25, 2013
Would you wish by trick or quibble to juggle me out of these last acres?The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
They draw this distinction when it is too late, and use it as a quibble to gloss over their fault.The Eternal City
You don't want to wrong me—and yourself too—by sticking to this quibble about vendor's shares.The Market-Place
The major was too enthusiastic to quibble over how the knowledge was gained.Garrison's Finish
W. B. M. Ferguson
The viewers had awarded the government bounty without a quibble.Billy Topsail & Company
- to make trivial objections; prevaricate
- archaic to play on words; pun
- a trivial objection or equivocation, esp one used to avoid an issue
- archaic a pun
Word Origin and History for quibble
1610s, "a pun, a play on words," probably a diminutive of obsolete quib "evasion of point at issue," based on an overuse of Latin quibus? in legal jargon, which supposedly gave it the association with trivial argument. Meaning "equivocation, evasion of the point" is attested from 1660s.
"equivocate, evade the point, turn from the point in question or the plain truth," 1650s, from quibble (n.). Earlier "to pun" (1620s). Related: Quibbled; quibbling.