verb (used without object), nib·bled, nib·bling.

verb (used with object), nib·bled, nib·bling.


Nearby words

  1. niah cave,
  2. niamey,
  3. niarchos,
  4. nib,
  5. nibbana,
  6. nibbler,
  7. nibelung,
  8. nibelungen,
  9. nibelungenlied,
  10. niblick


    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

1425–75; late Middle English nebillen to peck away at, nibble, try, perhaps < Middle Low German nibbelen to pick with the beak; cf. nib, -le

Related formsun·nib·bled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nibbling

British Dictionary definitions for nibbling


verb (when intr, often foll by at)

(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 for nibble

C15: related to Low German nibbelen. Compare nib, neb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nibbling
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper