- petty; trivial; inconsequential: to quibble about a niggling difference in terminology.
- demanding too much care, attention, time, etc.: niggling chores about the house.
Origin of niggling
- 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.
- to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details: It's difficult to be meticulous and not niggle.
- to work ineffectively; trifle: to niggle with an uninteresting task.
Origin of niggle
Related Words for nigglingpiddling, trifling, frivolous, inconsequential, petty, trivial, unimportant, finicky, fussy, picayune
Examples from the Web for niggling
Historical Examples of niggling
Niggling, trifling, or idling; taking short steps in walking.The Slang Dictionary
John Camden Hotten
- requiring painstaking work
- persistently troublinga niggling back pain
- an act or instance of niggling
- (intr) to find fault continually
- (intr) to be preoccupied with details; fuss
- (tr) to irritate; worry
- a slight or trivial objection or complaint
- a slight feeling as of misgiving, uncertainty, etc
Word Origin for niggle
1590s (implied in niggling), possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian dialectal nigla "be busy with trifles"), perhaps related to source of niggard. Related: Niggled; niggling; niggler.