niggle

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • v niggle argue over petty things "Let's not quibble over pennies"
    • v niggle worry unnecessarily or excessively "don't fuss too much over the grandchildren--they are quite big now"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Niggle To act or walk mincingly.
    • Niggle To be finicky or excessively critical; to potter; esp., to work with excessive care for trifling details, as in painting.
    • Niggle To elaborate excessively, as in art.
    • Niggle To fret and snarl about trifles.
    • Niggle To move about restlessly or without result; to fidget.
    • Niggle To trifle or play. "Take heed, daughter,
      You niggle not with your conscience and religion."
    • v. t Niggle To trifle with; to deceive; to mock.
    • Niggle To use, spend, or do in a petty or trifling manner.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • niggle To eat sparingly; nibble.
    • niggle To act in a mincing manner; work in a finicking, fussy way.
    • niggle To trifle; be employed in trifling or petty carping.
    • niggle To fret; complain of trifles.
    • niggle To draw out unwillingly; squeeze out or hand out slyly.
    • niggle To play with contemptuously; make sport or game of; mock; deceive.
    • niggle To fill with excess of details; over-elaborate.
    • n niggle Small cramped handwriting; a scribble; a scrawl.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.i Niggle nig′l to trifle, busy one's self with petty matters: to cramp
    • v.t Niggle to fill with excessive detail: to befool
    • n Niggle small cramped handwriting
    • adj Niggle mean: fussy
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Dim. of Prov. E. nig, to clip money; cf. also Prov. E. nig, a small piece

Usage

In literature:

It spoke of antiquity, no doubt, but it was a dismal and graceless antiquity of narrow purposes and niggling thrift.
"The Market-Place" by Harold Frederic
You want to have ideas, Mary; get hold of something big; never mind making mistakes, but don't niggle.
"Night and Day" by Virginia Woolf
I'm Ellen Niggle, of the Ladies' Brasspolishing Guild.
"The Toys of Peace" by Saki
But any little niggling scruple is more to you than I am.
"Zuleika Dobson" by Max Beerbohm
That schoolgirl's niggle is worse than the first.
"Dynevor Terrace (Vol. I)" by Charlotte M. Yonge
Mavis worked with a will; her bold, unaffected handwriting emphasised the niggling scrawliness of Miss Hunter's previous entries in the book.
"Sparrows" by Horace W. C. Newte
There need be no niggling to remove sharp angles, or to make the fragment shapely.
"The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers From Seeds and Roots, 16th Edition" by Sutton and Sons
Here is a stately Lady in the case: We mustn't, now, be fidgetting, and niggling.
"Broad Grins" by George Colman, the Younger
Their souls were above trade and its petty nigglings.
"In a Little Town" by Rupert Hughes
There goes another 'niggling' match!
"Pemrose Lorry, Camp Fire Girl" by Isabel Katherine Hornibrook
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In news:

City Hall is niggling over what a taste is, but almost every little brewery in Northern California has a bar or tasting room where the public can buy a pint.
At the same time, county officials freed of myriad niggling issues could seek big-time gains.
And when it comes to the 802.11b Wi-Fi standard, we usually get it, with a niggling caveat.
His bald head, covered in shadow but sharply defined, tilts forward at a niggling angle—as if its weight were increasingly untenable.
Every so often, you run into a little niggling glitch that throws everything that you're doing off-track, and then you drive yourself batty trying to figure out what that little niggling bit is.
I am ashamed to say I have been ignoring a niggling feeling to get myself to Romania for a very long time.
A couple of items from the world of writing and assessment have been niggling at me of late.
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In science:

The niggling 2 − σ discrepancy with CKM unitarity has evaporated with a slew of new measurements of Vus in K decays that all give values higher than the earlier PDG value 49 : there is no longer any deficit of quark weak charge relative to muon decay.
Summary of ICHEP 2004
The Standard Model is in good shape, apart possibly from gµ − 2 and some niggling doubts about the electroweak data.
Physics Beyond the Standard Model
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