• WordNet 3.6
    • v nibble eat intermittently; take small bites of "He pieced at the sandwich all morning","She never eats a full meal--she just nibbles"
    • v nibble bite gently "The woman tenderly nibbled at her baby's ear"
    • v nibble bite off very small pieces "She nibbled on her cracker"
    • n nibble gentle biting
    • n nibble a small byte
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Goats do not eat tin cans, as lampooned in cartoons. They nibble at the cans because they're after the glue on the labels.
    • nibble A small or cautious bite.
    • nibble An expression of interest, often tentative, as at the beginning of a sale or negotiation process.
    • v. t Nibble To bite by little at a time; to seize gently with the mouth; to eat slowly or in small bits. "Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep."
    • v. t Nibble To bite upon something gently or cautiously; to eat a little of a thing, as by taking small bits cautiously; as, fishes nibble at the bait. "Instead of returning a full answer to my book, he manifestly falls a- nibbling at one single passage."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Self-annointing is something only hedgehogs do, in which they lick or nibble on something, make a foamy paste in their mouths, and then spread it with their long tongues in little spots on their quills. No one has ever determined exactly why they do this.
    • nibble To eat by biting or gnawing off small bits; gnaw.
    • nibble To bite very slightly or gently; bite off small pieces of.
    • nibble To catch; nab.
    • nibble To bite gently; bite off small pieces: as, fishes nibble at the bait.
    • nibble Figuratively, to carp; make a petty attack: with at.
    • nibble To fidget the fingers about.
    • n nibble The act of nibbling; a little bite; also, a small morsel or bit.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Nibble nib′l to bite by small bits: to eat by little at a time
    • v.i Nibble to bite gently: to find fault
    • n Nibble act of nibbling: a little bit
    • ***


  • Edmund Burke
    “The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.”
  • Edmund Burke
    “The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. Nip


In literature:

He nibbled at a piece.
"Mappo, the Merry Monkey" by Richard Barnum
As I say," Carlisle laughed at him, nibbling a little pink cake, "I like your pretty speeches.
"V. V.'s Eyes" by Henry Sydnor Harrison
Now I return to myself, who am descended from a freed-man; whom every body nibbles at, as being descended from a freed-man.
"The Works of Horace" by Horace
Here hedges sparkled in a harvest of scarlet cherries; and here sheep and goats nibbled over little, bright tracts of sweet grass.
"The Red Redmaynes" by Eden Phillpotts
The food thus nibbled usually was either spicy or sweet, and she consumed quite a bit of candy.
"The Nervous Housewife" by Abraham Myerson
She offers one topic; not much of a nibble.
"Etiquette" by Emily Post
Morning "nibbling" had consequently become a disease with him.
"The Story of the Foss River Ranch" by Ridgwell Cullum
Then he poured some of the sugar out from the bag on the ground, and the sheep began to nibble at it.
"Six Little Bunkers at Grandma Bell's" by Laura Lee Hope
Why, they ate like a couple of canaries, dabbling with the one egg each they took, and nibbling at tiny wafers of toast.
"The Road" by Jack London
Then she reached forward, helped herself to an olive, and nibbled it, head on one side.
"Half Portions" by Edna Ferber

In poetry:

Upheaved in many a billowy mound
The sea-like, naked turf arose,
Where wandering flocks went nibbling round
The mingled graves of friends and foes.
"The Broken Circle" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Scarce had night's chilly shade forsook the sky
What time to nibbling sheep the dewy grass
Tastes sweetest, when, on his smooth shepherd-staff
Of olive leaning, Damon thus began.
"Eclogue 8: To Pollio Damon Alphesiboeus" by Publius Vergilius Maro
The sprinkled dew of eve or morning showers
Allure the opening bloom of verdant flowers;
The fields revive, blue bird and redbreast sing,
The nibbling flocks rejoice, and valleys ring.
"Spring" by George Hannibal Temple
Some beef now? I thank you, not any at present;
I'll nibble a little at what I have got,
And wish for a duck, or a grouse, or a pheasant,
Though none of them come for a wish, in the pot.
"Mrs. Merdle Accepteth Of A Slight Dinner, Suitable For A Woman Suffering With Dyspepsia" by Horatio Alger Jr
Old Spense, he bit a noble chaw,
An' sort ov meditated;
Samson he nibbl'd at the grass,
An' preacher smil'd and waited;
Ye'd see it writ upon his face--
"I've got Spense in a tightsome place!"
"Old Spense" by Isabella Valancy Crawford
I smiled at first, for she'd begun
With a back-garden broad and green,
And rabbits nibbling there: page one
Turned; and the gardener fired his gun
From the low hedge: he lay unseen
Behind: oh, it was mean!
"The Picture Book" by Robert Graves

In news:

Sipping and Nibbling With Oscar Nominees.
Time Is Nibbling at Sunken Railroad Bridge in Hudson.
This morning, we asked you what food you LOVE to nibble on.
This is my favorite time of year to invite friends over for drinks and nibbles.
Goyim get the choice gifts and classic songs, while we just light candles and nibble chocolate coins.
Can nibbling really make you thinner.
Exactly what kind of cheese has Deadmau5 been nibbling lately.
Previously unidentified bug discovered nibbling wort on MU campus.
Nibble and sip your way around Vancouver.
Look But Don't Nibble At Gingerbread Village.
WILLIAMSVILLE — Nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie outside the visiting locker room at Paul Jenkins Field in Williamsville, Cody Payne still had a look of disbelief on his face.
The bakery plans to introduce a July-only pastry to nibble while watching bicycles whizz by.
Created as a nibble to go along with an Old-Fashioned.
A warming climate is beginning to nibble at crop yields worldwide.
Culinary nibbles, Dec 13.

In science:

At this point one has reduced the problem to that of calculating the half-perimeter generating function of Nibbled Staircase Polygons with nibbling parameters α and β like that in Figure 8, where the walk on top is the inner path and the one on the bottom is the outer path.
The Half-Perimeter Generating Function of Gated and Wicketed Ferrers diagrams
The generating function of these nibbled staircase polygons can be calculated again using the umbral transfer matrix method.
The Half-Perimeter Generating Function of Gated and Wicketed Ferrers diagrams
Some of the ma jor tools in combinatorics have been developed to solve problems in this area, for example, the local lemma and the nibble or semirandom method.
Coloring Simple Hypergraphs
The proof technique, which has been termed the semi-random, or nibble method, was first used by R¨odl (inspired by earlier work in [2, 13]) to confirm the Erd˝os-Hanani conjecture about the existence of asymptotically optimal designs.
Coloring Simple Hypergraphs
Our proof can be thought of as a nibble argument, involving two iterations, given by Lemmas 5 and 6.
Coloring Simple Hypergraphs