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quibble

[kwib-uh l]
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noun
  1. an instance of the use of ambiguous, prevaricating, or irrelevant language or arguments to evade a point at issue.
  2. the general use of such arguments.
  3. petty or carping criticism; a minor objection.
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verb (used without object), quib·bled, quib·bling.
  1. to equivocate.
  2. to carp; cavil.
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Origin of quibble

1605–15; perhaps derivative (cf. -le) of quib gibe, apparently akin to quip
Related formsquib·bler, nounout·quib·ble, verb (used with object), out·quib·bled, out·quib·bling.

Synonyms

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1. evasion, equivocation, sophism, shift, ambiguity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quibbler

Historical Examples

  • With him the quibbler, the doctrinaire, the political economist, has no place.

    Sir Charles Napier

    Sir William Francis Butler

  • If there is one thing I find it difficult to have Christian patience with, it is a quibbler.

    Hildegarde's Harvest

    Laura E. Richards

  • He was adroit and quick, and was rather a quibbler than a great lawyer.

  • You are a quibbler, I vow; but I would not hear your worst enemy accuse you of being orthodox.

    A Nest of Linnets

    Frank Frankfort Moore


British Dictionary definitions for quibbler

quibble

verb (intr)
  1. to make trivial objections; prevaricate
  2. archaic to play on words; pun
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noun
  1. a trivial objection or equivocation, esp one used to avoid an issue
  2. archaic a pun
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Derived Formsquibbler, nounquibbling, adjective, nounquibblingly, adverb

Word Origin

C17: probably from obsolete quib, perhaps from Latin quibus (from quī who, which), as used in legal documents, with reference to their obscure phraseology
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 quibbler

quibble

n.

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.

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quibble

v.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper