top of page



How to pronounce niggle (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Download your free e-book. Promotion ends tomorrow.

Dictionary definition of niggle

To find fault or express dissatisfaction with small or trivial matters.
"Despite the positive feedback, the author couldn't help but niggle over a few typos in the manuscript."

Detailed meaning of niggle

It involves focusing on minor details or perceived imperfections, often in a nitpicky or overly critical manner. When someone niggles, they tend to engage in constant or persistent complaining, nitpicking, or pointing out minor flaws that may not significantly impact the overall situation or outcome. This verb is typically used to describe someone who is overly concerned with minor issues, often detracting from the larger picture or purpose. Niggling can also refer to experiencing a nagging or persistent feeling of discomfort or unease. However, it's important to note that "niggle" can also have a less negative connotation and be used to describe the process of addressing or fixing small issues or details to ensure overall quality or improvement.

Example sentences containing niggle

1. She couldn't help but niggle about the slightly crooked picture frame on the wall.
2. The customer would always niggle about the smallest imperfections in the product.
3. He spent hours niggling over the font size in the presentation slides.
4. Despite the overall success of the event, she couldn't help but niggle about the minor scheduling mishap.
5. The critic would constantly niggle about the actors' accents in the otherwise outstanding performance.
6. He would often niggle about the temperature in the room, adjusting the thermostat repeatedly.

History and etymology of niggle

The verb 'niggle,' meaning to find fault or express dissatisfaction with small or trivial matters, has an intriguing etymology. It is believed to have originated from the Scandinavian languages, particularly the Old Norse word 'hnigla,' which means to fuss over minor details or to be overly critical. The 'gn' sound in the Old Norse term transformed into the 'gg' sound in English over time. The essence of the word captures the act of nitpicking or being excessively concerned with minor imperfections, making it a fitting term for those moments when one can't help but focus on trivial flaws.

Quiz: Find the meaning of niggle

Try Again!


Further usage examples of niggle

1. The perfectionist couldn't resist the urge to niggle over the alignment of the table decorations.
2. She niggled about the arrangement of the books on the shelf, constantly rearranging them.
3. The project manager encouraged the team to niggle over the small details to ensure a flawless outcome.
4. He niggled about the tiniest scratch on his brand-new car, seeking a quick repair.
5. The designer niggled over the shade of blue for the logo, striving for the perfect hue.
6. The coach would constantly niggle about the players' positioning on the field, seeking optimal performance.
7. The host would niggle over the seating arrangement, making last-minute changes to achieve balance.
8. Despite the chef's expertise, she would always niggle about the seasoning, seeking the perfect balance of flavors.
9. She tends to niggle about minor details, causing delays.
10. Don't let small issues niggle at your peace of mind.
11. He can't help but niggle about the presentation format.
12. It's best not to niggle over inconsequential matters.
13. They often niggle over who should do the dishes.
14. She tends to niggle when things aren't perfect.
15. He will always find something to niggle about.
16. Niggling complaints can harm workplace morale.
17. Let's not niggle over the color of the tablecloth.
18. Niggling doubts can undermine your confidence.
19. Some people constantly niggle about the weather.
20. He didn't want to niggle about the restaurant choice.
21. Niggling disputes can strain friendships over time.
22. It's a waste of energy to constantly niggle.
23. Don't let minor problems niggle at your happiness.
24. She couldn't help but niggle over the typos.
25. Niggling concerns can distract from the bigger picture.
26. They tend to niggle during family gatherings.
27. Niggling issues can be resolved through open dialogue.
28. Let's not niggle over trivial expenses on the trip.



quibble, appreciate, praise, commend


TOEFL 5, High School 8, Criticism and Censure

bottom of page