AskDefine | Define niggle

Dictionary Definition



1 worry unnecessarily or excessively; "don't fuss too much over the grandchildren--they are quite big now" [syn: fuss, fret]
2 argue over petty things; "Let's not quibble over pennies" [syn: quibble, pettifog, bicker, squabble, brabble]

User Contributed Dictionary



First attested in 1599. Origin uncertain, but likely from nigla and/or nugla.



  1. A minor complaint or problem.
  2. Small, cramped handwriting.


  1. To trifle with; to deceive; to mock.
  2. To dwell too much on minor points.
  3. To fidget, fiddle, be restless.

Derived terms

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adverse criticism, animadversion, aspersion, bad notices, bad press, bitch, bug, captiousness, carp, carp at, carping, cavil, caviling, censoriousness, complain, criticism, criticize, exception, faultfinding, find fault, flak, fret at, fuss, fuss at, grouse, hairsplitting, hassle, henpeck, hit, home thrust, hostile criticism, hypercriticalness, hypercriticism, imputation, knock, kvetch, nag, nagging, nibble at, niggling, nit, nit-picking, obloquy, overcriticalness, peck at, pester, pestering, pettifogging, pick at, pick on, priggishness, quibble, quibbling, rap, reflection, reproachfulness, slam, stricture, swipe, taking exception, trichoschistism, yap at
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