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[skwob-uh l] /ˈskwɒb əl/
verb (used without object), squabbled, squabbling.
to engage in a petty quarrel.
verb (used with object), squabbled, squabbling.
Printing. to disarrange and mix (composed type).
a petty quarrel.
Swedish dialect
Norwegian dialect
1595-1605; probably < Scandinavian; compare Swedish dialect skvabbel a quarrel, gossip, Norwegian dialect skvabba to prattle
Related forms
squabbler, noun
squabblingly, adverb
unsquabbling, adjective
1. quarrel, wrangle, bicker, fight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for squabbling
  • So the next time you are stuck in earshot of squabbling youngsters, try to pardon their lack of consideration.
  • Anyone who has watched toddlers playing and squabbling has surely reached the same conclusion about humans.
  • To eliminate any upfront squabbling, the students had little say in the brainstorming process.
  • squabbling over common names is not only not taxonomical, it's not even biology.
  • And once they start squabbling, it is difficult to get them to stop.
  • All that's left is an oily sheen on the surface and gulls squabbling over shreds of blubber and meat.
  • Along the way, they pummel each other verbally with their constant squabbling and dredge up several decades of pent-up grudges.
  • Working there they learned the art of cutting one another down to size, of squabbling and surviving in close quarters.
  • Yet the pressure to keep things lively means that squabbling replaces dialogue.
  • Sooner or later, an unknown startup or a true maverick will sneak up behind these squabbling old timers and steal the pot of gold.
British Dictionary definitions for squabbling


(intransitive) to quarrel over a small matter
a petty quarrel
Derived Forms
squabbler, noun
Word Origin
C17: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Swedish dialect sqvabbel to quarrel
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 squabbling



c.1600, probably of imitative origin (cf. dialectal Swedish skvabbel "quarrel," dialectal German schwabbeln "to babble, prattle"). The verb is recorded from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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