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[bik-er] /ˈbɪk ər/
verb (used without object)
to engage in petulant or peevish argument; wrangle:
The two were always bickering.
to run rapidly; move quickly; rush; hurry:
a stream bickering down the valley.
to flicker; glitter:
The sun bickered through the trees.
an angry, petty dispute or quarrel; contention.
Origin of bicker1
1250-1300; Middle English bikeren < ?
Related forms
bickerer, noun
unbickered, adjective
unbickering, adjective
1. disagree, squabble, argue, quarrel, haggle, dispute, spar, spat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bickering
  • bickering and infighting do not contribute to addressing these broad societal goals.
  • Years of bureaucratic bickering set things badly behind.
  • There is no point in countries bickering about who is to blame for climate change.
  • There are many questions to be answered and bickering over this won't get the job done.
  • It has survived presidential censure and intra-service bickering.
  • Sometimes they work together, but they spend a lot of time bickering and jockeying for position, too.
  • The report portrays a leaderless inquiry mired in internal bickering that failed to grasp the scope of the crisis.
  • The decision came after months of bickering over the autonomy of the nation's second-largest guarantee agency.
  • But there will be some red tape and bickering until it is.
  • Many were killed in the violent bickering that seems to be a local tradition.
British Dictionary definitions for bickering


verb (intransitive)
to argue over petty matters; squabble
  1. (esp of a stream) to run quickly
  2. to flicker; glitter
a petty squabble
Derived Forms
bickerer, noun
bickering, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C13: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bickering

c.1300, "a skirmish," from bicker (v.). Meaning "a verbal wrangle" is from 1570s.


1808 in the sense of "contentious," present participle adjective from bicker (v.). Earlier it was used to mean "flashing, quivering" (1660s).



early 14c., bikere, "to skirmish, fight," perhaps from Middle Dutch bicken "to slash, stab, attack," + -er, Middle English frequentative suffix. Meaning "to quarrel" is from mid-15c. Related: Bickered; bickering.


c.1300, skirmish, battle; from the same source as bicker (v.). In modern use, often to describe the sound of a flight of an arrow or other repeated, loud, rapid sounds, in which sense it is perhaps at least partly echoic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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