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niggling

[nig-ling] /ˈnɪg lɪŋ/
adjective
1.
petty; trivial; inconsequential:
to quibble about a niggling difference in terminology.
2.
demanding too much care, attention, time, etc.:
niggling chores about the house.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600; niggle + -ing2
Related forms
nigglingly, adverb

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
1610-20; < 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 niggling
  • What inveterate wearers sometimes gripe about is the niggling pain felt when forced to walk with their feet flat.
  • Each of those injuries, no matter how niggling, also gets duly reported and entered into the computer.
  • But this spring day was too bright to spend niggling and spinning.
  • Still, she frets over the niggling details right to the end.
  • Don't let a niggling pain become a full-blown injury.
  • Darcy's umbrage protested, a niggling unease attacking the edges of his certainty.
  • And broadly define, don't limit yourself to accounting niggling stuff.
  • At first they were these little niggling local problems that were proliferating around the lake.
British Dictionary definitions for niggling

niggling

/ˈnɪɡlɪŋ/
adjective
1.
petty
2.
fussy
3.
irritating
4.
requiring painstaking work
5.
persistently troubling: a niggling back pain
noun
6.
an act or instance of niggling
Derived Forms
nigglingly, adverb

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 niggling

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 niggling

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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