Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Frivolous; trifling; silly; contemptible.
  • noun A frivolous, trifling person.
  • noun 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To act in a trifling or foolish manner; to act frivolously.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To totter.
  • adjective Frivolous; trifling; silly.
  • noun A frivolous, contemptible fellow; a fop.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To waste or fritter.
  • verb To behave in a frivolous way.
  • verb To totter.
  • adjective of no or little importance, frivolous.
  • noun A trifling action.
  • noun A trifler.

Etymologies

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

[Origin unknown.]

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

  • 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

  • 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 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

  • 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

Comments

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  • "'...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

  • 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

  • August 19, 2009

  • '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