Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Quibble

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is quibble. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To quibble is to argue or complain about small, unimportant things. The word can also mean “to evade the point of an argument by making trivial or frivolous objections.”

// If I may quibble for a moment with your description of the uniforms: they are navy blue, not royal blue.

// The siblings often quibbled over whose turn it was to sit in the front seat of the car.

QUIBBLE in Context

The Outfit is a smart movie—maybe a little too smart for its own good here and there, but let’s not quibble.” – Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Quibble is most familiar as a verb, but it can also function as a noun meaning “an evasion of or shift from the point” and “a minor objection or criticism.” Both forms of quibble settled into English in the mid-17th century, presumably (though not definitively) as a diminutive of a now-obsolete noun quib, meaning “quibble.” Quib in turn may have come from a form of Latin qui, meaning “who,” a distant relation also of our word who.

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