There are several, but we'll focus on these meanings:
To quibble is to argue over something as if it's a big deal when it's really not.
And, a quibble is a little complaint about something that really doesn't matter.
Part of speech:
(Like “sleep,” “skydive,” and “succeed,” all intransitive verbs show complete action on their own and do not do action to an object. You sleep, you skydive, you succeed, and that’s it. You don’t “sleep a bed,” “skydive a plane,” or “succeed a plan”.
Likewise, someone quibbles.)
It's also a countable noun.
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one quibble or multiple quibbles.)
quibbled, quibbling, quibbly (the adjective), quibbler (the person who quibbles)
How to use it:
The verb seems more common: you quibble with someone or something, quibble over something, quibble about something, or just plain quibble: "They quibbled over the $3 surcharge for way too long." "She keeps quibbling about the wording of one sentence in the contract." "I don't have the patience right now for anyone who intends to quibble."
You can use the noun as well: talk about someone's quibble(s) or simply about quibbles in general: "Quibbles aside, this is a great deal." "Their concerns are nothing but quibbles."
I regret to say that in high school, I quibbled over it any time I got a grade of 99% or less on an assignment. It must have been very annoying for my teachers.
If I point out spelling or punctuation errors on handmade signs, then I try to start out politely so no one feels criticized: "Excuse me, I don't mean to quibble, but I noticed here on your sign..."
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "quibble" means when you can explain it without saying "nitpick" or "petty objection."
Think of something small that has annoyed you, and fill in the blanks: "I try/tried not to quibble over _____, but _____."
Example: "I try not to quibble over the meaning of 'light ice' in the drive-through, but having a drink that's 80% ice makes it hard to eat the meal."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our October game references some material that may be protected by copyright. I appreciate your understanding as I err on the side of caution by not publishing it here!
A Point Well Made:
Samuel Johnson: “It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.”
1. One opposite of QUIBBLE is
2. A _____ in your food is not a quibble; it's _____.
A. stray bit of lettuce .. petty to even point it out to the server
B. hair .. a legitimate reason to never return to that restaurant
C. certain preference for spiciness .. actually very easy to order it how you like
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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