[ nig-uhl ]
See synonyms for: nigglenigglingniggler on

verb (used without object),nig·gled, nig·gling.
  1. to criticize, especially constantly or repeatedly, in a peevish or petty way; carp: to niggle about the fine points of interpretation; preferring to niggle rather than take steps to correct a situation.

  2. to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details: It's difficult to be meticulous and not niggle.

  1. to work ineffectively; trifle: to niggle with an uninteresting task.

Origin of niggle

1610–20; <Scandinavian; compare Norwegian nigla to be penurious (ultimately <Old Norse hnøggr stingy, cognate with Old English hnēaw); cf. niggard

Other words from niggle

  • niggler, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for niggle


/ (ˈnɪɡəl) /

  1. (intr) to find fault continually

  2. (intr) to be preoccupied with details; fuss

  1. (tr) to irritate; worry

  1. a slight or trivial objection or complaint

  2. a slight feeling as of misgiving, uncertainty, etc

Origin of niggle

C16: from Scandinavian; related to Norwegian nigla. Compare niggard

Derived forms of niggle

  • niggler, noun
  • niggly, adjective

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