Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To bite at gently and repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To eat with small, quick bites or in small morsels: nibble a cracker.
  • transitive v. To wear away or diminish bit by bit: "If you start compromising too early . . . they nibble you to death” ( People).
  • intransitive v. To take small or hesitant bites: fish nibbling at the bait.
  • n. A very small quantity, especially of food; a morsel.
  • n. The act or an instance of nibbling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small, quick bite taken with the front teeth.
  • n. Small snacks such as crisps/potato chips or nuts, often eaten to accompany drinks.
  • v. To eat with small, quick bites.
  • v. To bite lightly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small or cautious bite.
  • n. An expression of interest, often tentative, as at the beginning of a sale or negotiation process.
  • transitive v. To bite by little at a time; to seize gently with the mouth; to eat slowly or in small bits.
  • transitive v. To bite upon something gently or cautiously; to eat a little of a thing, as by taking small bits cautiously.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To eat by biting or gnawing off small bits; gnaw.
  • To bite very slightly or gently; bite off small pieces of.
  • To catch; nab.
  • To bite gently; bite off small pieces: as, fishes nibble at the bait.
  • Figuratively, to carp; make a petty attack: with at.
  • To fidget the fingers about.
  • n. The act of nibbling; a little bite; also, a small morsel or bit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. bite off very small pieces
  • n. a small byte
  • v. bite gently
  • v. eat intermittently; take small bites of
  • n. gentle biting

Etymologies

Middle English nebyllen; akin to Low German nibbelen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from Middle Low German nibbelen ("to gnaw"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Of course, despite that he is after all * nibble nibble* a member of SG5, which means that we * ssslurp* try to include him in some of our class activities.

    jaimewolf Diary Entry

  • No single nibble is that dramatic or burdensome, but over the decades they threaten to convert any stable democracy into a big, inefficient, favor-ridden state.

    How America Can Rise Again

  • This morning, for example, it was a quick flit through the studios of SKY News and a quick nibble from the toothless gums of our Eamonn.

    Brown's Whirling Dervishes

  • Not a nibble from the Administration, which instead chose to embarrass the residents with the misbegotten site for going on eight months.

    Plainfield.com version 3.0 coming

  • That's just a nibble from a post full of meat (the historical context alone is well worth your mouse click.)

    On the Don't Panic beat...

  • I had a nibble from a Spanish institution a few years back.

    CHE > Latest news

  • The ladies, to do them justice, are never at all suspicious about men -- on the 'nibble' -- always taking it for granted, they are 'all they could wish,' and they know each other so well, that any cautionary hint acts rather in a man's favour than otherwise.

    Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour

  • Four months without a nibble, which is a personal record!

    Archive 2006-04-01

  • It had been half full of the sort of tidbits he privately called nibble'ments-salted nuts, wafers, things like that-when he and Leslie Coombes had gone through the room on their way down for dinner.

    The Fuzzy Papers

  • UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sticks the licorice through and he and Casey kind of nibble it until they get to the end?

    CNN Transcript Mar 26, 2009

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.