top of page

Claim your free ebook

Website Image.jpg



petty, significant, important, substantial


TOEFL 6, High School 13, Problematic and Annoying



How to pronounce niggling (audio)


Dictionary definition of niggling

Trivial, petty, or bothersome, often in a way that is slightly irritating or nagging.
"He had a niggling feeling that something was not right."

Detailed meaning of niggling

When a matter or detail is labeled as niggling, it implies that it is small or insignificant in the grand scheme of things but can still be persistent in causing annoyance or concern. Niggling issues or problems may not be major, but their persistent nature or frequent recurrence can make them seem more bothersome than they initially appear. This term underscores the idea that while the concerns or annoyances may not be significant, they can still be persistent or nagging, making them difficult to ignore or dismiss completely.

Example sentences containing niggling

1. She couldn't shake off the niggling doubt in her mind.
2. I couldn't focus on my work because of the niggling headache.
3. He had a niggling pain in his back that wouldn't go away.
4. She couldn't enjoy her vacation because of the niggling worry about work.
5. I couldn't sleep because of the niggling worry about my upcoming exam.
6. He had a niggling worry about his finances.

History and etymology of niggling

The adjective 'niggling' has a historical etymology that can be traced back to the Middle English word 'nyglyn,' which meant to trifle or be overly concerned with minor details. This term, in turn, had roots in the Old Norse word 'hnøggva,' meaning to pinch or niggle. Over time, 'niggling' evolved to describe something as trivial, petty, or bothersome, particularly in a way that is slightly irritating or nagging. The etymology of 'niggling' reflects the idea of picking at small, inconsequential matters, much like how one might nitpick or fuss over minor issues. Thus, the word's origin highlights its connection to the tendency to be overly concerned with trivial details, making it a fitting term to describe such annoyances.

Quiz: Find the meaning of niggling

Try Again!


Further usage examples of niggling

1. She couldn't concentrate on her book because of the niggling noise in the background.
2. I couldn't relax because of the niggling feeling of guilt.
3. He had a niggling fear of heights.
4. She couldn't stop thinking about the niggling problem at work.
5. I couldn't shake off the niggling feeling of unease.
6. The niggling details of the project kept her up at night.
7. His niggling criticism about the font choice was unnecessary.
8. The niggling pain in her shoulder persisted throughout the day.
9. Dealing with niggling customer complaints can be exhausting.
10. She had a niggling feeling that she had forgotten something important.
11. The niggling doubt in his mind made him hesitate.
12. The niggling problem with the door latch was finally fixed.
13. He couldn't ignore the niggling suspicion that something was wrong.
14. The niggling issues with the software needed immediate attention.
15. The niggling sense of unease in the room was palpable.
16. A niggling worry about the upcoming presentation kept her on edge.
17. His niggling habit of tapping his pen during meetings was distracting.
18. She had a niggling fear that her phone battery would die.
19. The niggling sound of a dripping faucet echoed in the empty house.
20. Niggling disputes over office supplies were a regular occurrence.
21. The niggling pain in his knee flared up during his run.
22. Dealing with niggling details in the contract negotiations was frustrating.
23. The niggling thought that she had left the stove on haunted her.
24. Niggling concerns about the weather threatened to ruin the picnic.
25. The niggling sense that he was being watched made him uncomfortable.

bottom of page