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From quibble +‎ -y.



quibbly (comparative more quibbly, superlative most quibbly)

  1. Fussy; quibbling.
    • 1859: John Solomon Rarey, The Art of Taming Horses, p. 15
      considering the docility of the high-bred Arab horse and the intractableness of the quibly, roughly broken praire or Pampas horse
    • 1920: Gerald Stanley Lee, The Ghost in the White House, p. xv
      We give notice that thousands of our most complacently puttering, most quibbly and fuddly politicans are going to be taken out by the people, lifted up by the people, and dropped kindly but firmly over the edge of the world.
    • 1926: Charles Robert Gibson, Heroes of the Scientific World, p. 229
      the Quaker said, “I tell thee what, Humphry, thou art the most quibbly hand at a dispute I ever met with in my life.”
    • 1956: Edward Hoagland, Cat Man, p. 134
      The voice sounded mellow and reasonable, but the mans was as quibbly and higgly a guy as you could find.
    • 1992: Martin Bronfenbrenner, review of The Japanese Economy by Takatoshi Ito, in the Southern Economic Journal, vol. 59, no. 2, p. 324
      A remarkable performance, both piece by piece and all in all, but with items for quibbly reviewers to quibble about. This reviewer too is on the quibbly side, with four quibbles.
  2. Involving quibbles.
    • 1887: Thomas Curson Hansard, Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, p. 972
      Of course, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General made a rather clever and—if he will excuse me for saying so—a rather quibbly defence.
    • 1974: Martin Bronfenbrenner, review of Japan’s Trade Liberalization in the 1960’s by Alfred K. Ho, in the Southern Economic Journal, vol. 40, no. 4, p. 683
      This reviewer’s doubts can be grouped under six heads, of which the econometric and the theoretical are the most quibbly.
    • 1995: Matthew Melko, "The Nature of Civilizations", in Civilizations and World Systems (ed. Stephen K. Sanderson), p. 33
      The delineation of civilizations is usually unsatisfactory, often esoteric and sometimes rather quibbly
  3. Petty; trifling.
    • 1990: Floyd W. Matson, Walking Alone and Marching Together, p. 474
      If it is true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it is equally true that the beginning of that road is usually paved with what are called quibbly incidents. The big ones come later when the direction is clear