Definition of nibble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnɪb(ə)l/


1 [with object] Take small bites out of: he nibbled a biscuit [no object]: she nibbled at her food
More example sentences
  • It's a good idea also to pack a snack of cheese and biscuits to nibble on between wineries - and if you can persuade a teetotal friend to drive you so much the better!
  • Next I nibble on the chocolate cookie, reminding myself of the rabbit I had when I was younger.
  • If you suffer from morning sickness, try the following home remedies: nibble on a ginger biscuit before getting up and try to eat a little something often - perhaps a biscuit, oatcake or crispbread.
take small bites (from), pick (at), gnaw (at), peck at, pick over, eat listlessly, toy with, eat like a bird;
taste, sample;
eat between meals, graze (on)
informal snack on
1.1 [no object] Eat frequently in small amounts: I put on weight because I was constantly nibbling
More example sentences
  • Rats and guinea pigs nibble and graze continuously without well-defined meal times.
  • Feeding on the growth of after work drinking and nibbling, chicken appetizers are gaining strength based on contemporary Mexican and Asian recipes.
  • One of the high points for me was standing at the squirrel feeding station and watching two red squirrels, one still young, playing and nibbling without a worry - a rare treat these days.
1.2Gently bite at (a part of the body), especially amorously or nervously: Sebastian was nibbling Gloria’s ear
More example sentences
  • He then moved toward her ear, nibbling it gently.
  • She nervously nibbled at one of her finger nails.
  • He nibbles your fingers gently.
peck, nip, bite
1.3 [no object] Gradually erode or diminish: inflation was nibbling away at spending power
More example sentences
  • On it goes, year after remorseless year, nibbling away at savings, forcing more and ever more stringent economies on the individual until the point is reached at which there are no more economies to be made.
  • But the scene nags at me, nibbling away at the edges of my subconscious, until suddenly it has pushed its way right to the front, as if trying to draw attention to its own relevance.
  • When it comes to nibbling away at political institutions, this 30-strong musical troupe is right at the coalface.
2 [no object] informal Show cautious interest in a commercial opportunity: there’s an American agent nibbling
More example sentences
  • Now, if you have that diversified, broad portfolio, only after that do you start to nibble at individual stocks and try to play these opportunities that we see in the market.
  • Yes, a few are able to nibble at the important trends of the future but not feed directly enough.
  • Yet even with housing sales and prices cooling off and online competitors nibbling at the situation's vacant revenues, he is looking to acquire more newspapers.


1An act or instance of nibbling: I’m distracted by a nibble on my line
More example sentences
  • You have to rely on senses and a vague idea about what a fish eating a worm feels like through the line, and what it looks like as the nibble bends the tip of your rod.
  • Like Lawson, she responds with semi-delirium to certain tastes, and makes breathless lowing noises between nibbles.
  • It was very relaxing to watch the boats go by with their night lanterns on and on occasion feel the nibble from the fishing rod hoping you would catch the big one.
bite, gnaw, peck, taste
1.1A small piece of food bitten off: I took a nibble from one of the sandwiches
More example sentences
  • Gaup and Mai join our group and after being introduced they try their first nibble of Japanese food.
  • Lander just stared at her openly and played with the third strawberry in between his fingers before taking a nibble of the fruit.
  • I nodded, taking a nibble of dressing covered lettuce.
morsel, mouthful, bite, crumb, grain;
snack, titbit, a little something, canapé, hors d'oeuvre, bonne bouche;
1.2 (nibbles) informal Small savoury snacks, typically eaten before a meal or with drinks: cheesy nibbles
More example sentences
  • Hopefully there was a stopover at Jim's Place, Stuart's Well, for hot toddies and nibbles, the last sign of running water for a while and maybe Dinky, the resident dingo, crooned a special early song for them all.
  • Tickets are £5 each, and will include a memento of the occasion and a finger buffet / nibbles.
  • Keep your distance from the nibbles, buffet table or food table.
2 informal A show of interest in a commercial opportunity: I had been trying to unload my apartment for weeks without even a nibble
More example sentences
  • Marshall has gotten a few nibbles of interest, and some of his pupils have been signed, though most pitching coaches try to undo what he has taught.
  • We got a lot of interest, a few nibbles, but ultimately no bites.
  • I might as well have stayed in bed - there was not a single nibble.


Late 15th century: probably of Low German or Dutch origin; compare with Low German nibbeln 'gnaw'.

Words that rhyme with nibble

dibble, dribble, fribble, Gribble, kibble, quibble, scribble

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: nib¦ble

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