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nibble

[nib-uh l] /ˈnɪb əl/
verb (used without object), nibbled, nibbling.
1.
to bite off small bits.
2.
to eat or chew in small bites:
Give him a graham cracker to nibble on.
3.
to bite, eat, or chew gently and in small amounts (usually followed by at):
She was so upset she could only nibble at her food.
verb (used with object), nibbled, nibbling.
4.
to bite off small bits of (something).
5.
to eat (food) by biting off small pieces.
6.
to bite in small bits:
He nibbled each morsel with great deliberation.
noun
7.
a small morsel or bit:
Each nibble was eaten with the air of an epicure.
8.
an act or instance of nibbling.
9.
a response by a fish to bait on a fishing line.
10.
any preliminary positive response or reaction.
Idioms
11.
nibble away at, to cause to decrease or diminish bit by bit:
Inflation was nibbling away at her savings. The rains nibbled at the loam.
Also, nibble at.
Origin
late Middle English
1425-1475
1425-75; late Middle English nebillen to peck away at, nibble, try, perhaps < Middle Low German nibbelen to pick with the beak; cf. nib, -le
Related forms
unnibbled, adjective
Synonyms
7. tidbit, bite, taste, crumb.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for nib bled

nibble

/ˈnɪbəl/
verb when intr, often foll by at
1.
(esp of animals, such as mice) to take small repeated bites (of)
2.
to take dainty or tentative bites to nibble at a cake
3.
to bite (at) gently or caressingly
4.
(intransitive) to make petty criticisms
5.
(intransitive) to consider tentatively or cautiously to nibble at an idea
noun
6.
a small mouthful
7.
an instance or the act of nibbling
8.
(pl) (informal) small items of food, esp savouries, usually served with drinks
Word Origin
C15: related to Low German nibbelen. Compare nib, neb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for nib bled
nibble
"to bite gently," c.1500, perhaps from Low Ger. nibbeln "to nibble, gnaw," related to M.L.G. nibbelen, M.Du. knibbelen "to gnaw," source of Du. knibbelen "to cavail, squabble." The noun is first attested 1658.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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