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niggle

[nig-uh l] /ˈnɪg əl/
verb (used without object), niggled, niggling.
1.
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.
2.
to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details:
It's difficult to be meticulous and not niggle.
3.
to work ineffectively; trifle:
to niggle with an uninteresting task.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < Scandinavian; compare Norwegian nigla to be penurious (ultimately < Old Norse hnøggr stingy, cognate with Old English hnēaw); cf. niggard
Related forms
niggler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for niggle
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for niggle

niggle

/ˈnɪɡəl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to find fault continually
2.
(intransitive) to be preoccupied with details; fuss
3.
(transitive) to irritate; worry
noun
4.
a slight or trivial objection or complaint
5.
a slight feeling as of misgiving, uncertainty, etc
Derived Forms
niggler, noun
niggly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Scandinavian; related to Norwegian nigla. Compare niggard
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 niggle
v.

1590s (implied in niggling), possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian dialectal nigla "be busy with trifles"), perhaps related to source of niggard. Related: Niggled; niggling; niggler.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for niggle

niggle

verb
  1. To complain
  2. To spend time on inconsequential things; trifle •With niggling as the adjective form: niggle over the details (1886+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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8
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