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Etymology 1[edit]

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page per etymology instructions. You can also discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.


tribble (plural tribbles)

  1. A horizontal frame with wires stretched across it for drying paper.

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably invented for alliteration with trouble; the creatures first appeared in an episode called The Trouble with Tribbles.


tribble (plural tribbles)

  1. A fictional alien creature in Star Trek, a fast-breeding, cooing ball of fur.
    • 1998, William A. Sethares, Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale[1], page 49:
      Scales have proliferated like tribbles in quadra-triticale: just intonations, equal temperaments, scales based on overtones, scales generated from a single interval or pair of intervals, scales without octaves, scales arising from arcane mathematical formulas, scales that reflect cosmological or religious structures, scales that "come from the heart."
    • 2008, Robin C. Whittaker (editor), Hot Thespian Action![2], page 569:
      The Hyper-Producing Playwrights of Edmondton: Or Why Alberta’s Capital Breeds New Plays Like Tribbles.
    • 2010, Dakota Cassidy, chapter 19, in Accidentally Demonic[3]:
      They were like tribbles, multiplying by the dozens, cackling, giggling their maniacal joy at the game.
    • 2015, Zanzibar 7. Schwarzenegger, Veneri Verbum[4], page 19:
      They breed like tribbles, but at least they’re not terrestrial.