Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To waste (time, for example); fritter (something) away.
  • intransitive v. To waste time; trifle.
  • n. A frivolity; a trifle.
  • n. A frivolous person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To waste or fritter.
  • v. To behave in a frivolous way.
  • v. To totter.
  • adj. of no or little importance, frivolous.
  • n. A trifling action.
  • n. A trifler.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Frivolous; trifling; silly.
  • n. A frivolous, contemptible fellow; a fop.
  • intransitive v. To act in a trifling or foolish manner; to act frivolously.
  • intransitive v. To totter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Frivolous; trifling; silly; contemptible.
  • n. A frivolous, trifling person.
  • n. Frivolity; nonsense.
  • To trifle; act in a trifling or frivolous manner.
  • To totter.
  • To deal with or dispose of in a trifling or frivolous way.

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The entire argument was laughable because no argument can be taken seriously when the word "fribble" must be used so often.

    YesButNoButYes: Fribble, Frosty or Shake?

  • New Oxford American Dictionary tells me that "fribble" as a verb means to "part with lightly and wastefully; fritter."

    So Many Books

  • But I had a great time hating Mr. Bounderby and The Designated No-Good Brother Tom and Mrs. Sparsit and wondering what on earth Louisa sees in the world-weary fribble Mr. Harthouse and how anybody could have missed that Mrs. Pegler was Mr. Bounderby's mother (oops, Spoiler -- except for it's being all too obvious from the beginning).

    Hard Times

  • It is to him that I owe my sweet tooth -- I cannot drive by a Friendly's on the highway without craving a black-and-white fribble, pass by the bakery on my block without wanting a piece of coconut cake, or pass up a malted milk ball in the candy bins at a movie theater.

    Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Pasta For Pop: Celebrating Dad's Best Friend, Carbs

  • It is to him that I owe my sweet tooth--I cannot drive by a Friendly's on the highway without craving a black-and-white fribble, pass by the bakery on my block without wanting a piece of coconut cake, or pass up a malted milk ball in the candy bins at a movie theater.

    Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Pasta For Pop: Celebrating Dad's Best Friend, Carbs

  • The queen had always held that it would be easier to turn the Thames than to stop Robert MacQuarrie from being a useless fribble.

    Much Ado About Marriage

  • The lizard-lidded Boehner, the reedy and ineffectual Jindal, the fribble Palin, the sputtering Limbaugh, the swollen Hannity, the whole dead-end pseudo-Conservative horde stripped of their tools for wreaking havoc, all on full display, yakking, spitting.

    Steven Weber: What Lies Beneath

  • OH and another time I was in Friendly's when a man got into a fight with the manager about the sub-par quality of his fribble, and how he'd had fribbles in Friendly's all across the country and he had never had a fribble as bad as this.

    YesButNoButYes: Fribble, Frosty or Shake?

  • “So you think me a mere fribble,” he remarked, even as he reached out and caught her arm.

    A Wicked Gentleman

  • Nor can such a person be a mere fribble; nor can any loose hanger-on of fashion imagine he may assume the character.

    The Fitz-Boodle Papers

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Comments

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  • '[She;] fell to polishing her nails with the palm of her hand with that trivial, fribbling gesture that was somehow more desperate than any other being's outflung arms.'

    - Rebecca West, The Judge

    September 4, 2009

  • August 19, 2009

  • Young Velasquez, a mixture of the fribble and the braggart, concluding from the cut of my countenance that I was made up of mortal frailty like my dear predecessor, drew me aside to a snug corner...

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 10 ch. 11

    October 10, 2008

  • "'...why, you are tempted to ask yourself whether these are not mere irresponsible childish fribbles...'

    "'Fribble yourself,' murmured the gunroom steward the other side of the door...

    "'...or weathercocks. But then you reflect that these same people circumnavigate the entire terraqueous globe, sometimes in trying circumstances, which argues a certain constancy.'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 259

    February 23, 2008