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[nim-buh l] /ˈnɪm bəl/
adjective, nimbler, nimblest.
quick and light in movement; moving with ease; agile; active; rapid:
nimble feet.
quick to understand, think, devise, etc.:
a nimble mind.
cleverly contrived:
a story with a nimble plot.
Origin of nimble
late Middle English
before 1000; late Middle English nymel, earlier nemel, Old English nǣmel capable, equivalent to nǣm- (variant stem of niman to take; see nim1) + -el -le
Related forms
nimbleness, noun
nimbly, adverb
unnimble, adjective
unnimbleness, noun
unnimbly, adverb
1. lively, brisk, swift. 2. alert.
1. clumsy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for nimble


agile, quick, and neat in movement: nimble fingers
alert; acute: a nimble intellect
Derived Forms
nimbleness, noun
nimbly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English nǣmel quick to grasp, and numol quick at seizing, both from niman to take
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 nimble

"agile, light-footed," c.1300, nemel, from Old English næmel "quick to grasp" (attested but once), related to niman "to take," from Proto-Germanic *nemanan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Dutch, Gothic niman, Old Norse nema, Old Frisian nima, German nehmen "to take"), from PIE root *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot," also "to take" (cf. Greek nemein "to deal out," nemesis "just indignation," Latin numerus "number," Lithuanian nuoma "rent, interest," Middle Irish nos "custom, usage"). With excrescent -b- from c.1500 (cf. limb (n.1)). Related: Nimbleness. In 17c., English had nimblechaps "talkative fellow."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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