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See also: Nibble


Etymology 1[edit]

Probably of Dutch or Low German origin, perhaps from Middle Low German nibbelen (to gnaw), akin to modern Low German nibbeln (to gnaw) and Dutch nibbelen (to nibble), equivalent to nip +‎ -le (frequentative suffix).[1] Compare Saterland Frisian nibje (to nibble).


  • IPA(key): /ˈnɪbəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪbəl


nibble (plural nibbles)

  1. A small, quick bite taken with the front teeth.
  2. (in the plural, nibbles) Small snacks such as crisps/potato chips or nuts, often eaten to accompany drinks.
Derived terms[edit]


nibble (third-person singular simple present nibbles, present participle nibbling, simple past and past participle nibbled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To eat with small, quick bites.
    The rabbit nibbled the lettuce.
    The rabbit nibbled at the lettuce.
    • 2014 November 2, Alex James, “The day I came face-to-face with a tiger”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Giant parrots nibbled seed from the children's fingertips and my sister peeled a couple of satsumas for the lemurs.
    • 1911, Rudyard Kipling, Big Steamers:
      For the bread that you eat and the biscuits you nibble, / The sweets that you suck and the joints that you carve, / They are brought to you daily by all us Big Steamers-- / And if anyone hinders our coming you'll starve!
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To bite lightly.
    He nibbled at my neck and made me shiver.
  3. (figurative, especially intransitive with away at) To consume gradually.
    • 2011 May 11, Ann Carrns, “Prepaid Cards Subject Jobless to Host of Fees”, in The New York Times[2]:
      A report out this week from the National Consumer Law Center lays out a host of ways in which banks nibble away at jobless benefits with fees the center called “junk.”
  4. To find fault; to cavil.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:

From nibble, punning on the homophony of byte and bite.

Alternative forms[edit]


nibble (plural nibbles)

  1. (computing) A unit of memory equal to half a byte, or four bits.[2]
    • 1993, Richard E. Haskell, Introduction to computer engineering, page 287:
      That is, the lower nibble (the 4 bits 1010 = A) has been masked to zero.


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.
  2. ^



Unadapted borrowing from English nibble.


nibble m (plural nibbles)

  1. (computing) nibble (half a byte)