verb (used without object), niggled, niggling.
to criticize, especially constantly or repeatedly, in a peevish or petty way; carp: to niggle about the fine points of interpretation; preferring to niggle rather than take steps to correct a situation.
to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details: It's difficult to be meticulous and not niggle.
to work ineffectively; trifle: to niggle with an uninteresting task.

1610–20; < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian nigla to be penurious (ultimately < Old Norse hnøggr stingy, cognate with Old English hnēaw); cf. niggard

niggler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To niggle
World English Dictionary
niggle (ˈnɪɡəl)
1.  (intr) to find fault continually
2.  (intr) to be preoccupied with details; fuss
3.  (tr) to irritate; worry
4.  a slight or trivial objection or complaint
5.  a slight feeling as of misgiving, uncertainty, etc
[C16: from Scandinavian; related to Norwegian nigla. Compare niggard]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1599 (implied in niggling), possibly from a Scand. source (cf. Norw. dial. nigla "be busy with trifles"), perhaps related to source of niggard.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
It's a niggle but someone might want to point out to the headline writer that empathic does not mean the same thing as empathetic.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature