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niggle Line breaks: nig¦gle
Pronunciation: /ˈnɪɡ(ə)l/

Definition of niggle in English:


[no object]
1Cause slight but persistent annoyance, discomfort, or anxiety: Doreen wanted to discuss matters that niggled at her mind (as adjective niggling) niggling aches and pains
More example sentences
  • It just niggled at me, and I thought I'd say something.
  • So I made my way to our meeting ready to hammer them down, but my sense of fair play niggled at me.
  • One thing that niggled at his mind was the bruises that covered her body.
1.1 [with object] Criticize or annoy (someone) in a petty way: people niggling me for doing too much work
complain, object, moan, fuss, nag, carp, cavil, find fault, grumble, grouse
informal nitpick


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A trivial criticism, discomfort, or annoyance: it is an excellent book except for my few niggles he can only throw underarm at the moment because of a niggle
More example sentences
  • It just made impatient about having to wait four weeks before being allowed to leave all my niggles and gripes behind.
  • It may be something as simple as an annoying niggle, or frustration with his own efforts, but whatever it is, England need to resolve it soon if they are to win this series - and to have any chance of defeating the Australians in the summer.
  • In the light of that, my little niggles and the odd feelings of unhappiness seem pretty trivial.
minor criticism, quibble, trivial objection, trivial complaint, adverse comment, moan, grumble, grouse, cavil
informal gripe, beef, grouch, nitpicking
archaic pettifogging


Example sentences
  • The crowd is not even daring to be expectant, bitten too many times by false hope, but there was a new energy about the Kingz last time on this field, so in the stands there is only a nigglingly small doubt that the team will lose.
  • He still finds reading nigglingly annoying, and hates most television.
  • It's a fine scene, but nigglingly off centre in a few important details.
Pronunciation: /ˈnɪɡli/
Example sentences
  • We know that there are plenty of you out there with niggly little problems, whether it's boy/girlfriend trouble, moral quandaries, or just your everyday London questions.
  • We had a couple of niggly little things wrong with the car, I came up against traffic on my fast laps and then the rain came.
  • It got a bit silly and niggly at times as they tried to break us mentally and drag us down to their level.


Early 17th century (in the sense 'do in an ineffectual way'): apparently of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian nigla. Current senses date from the late 18th century.

Words that rhyme with niggle

giggle, higgle, jiggle, sniggle, squiggle, wiggle, wriggle
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