nibble (away) at (something)

Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!


A four-bit aggregation of digital information, playfully named because it is half the de facto size of a byte. Sometimes spelled as "nybble" to reflect the spelling of "byte." The compression system packs an item of information into one nibble of a byte while the other nibble is set as a destination flag. I've written a script that cycles through and replaces corrupted nybbles.

nibble (away) at (something)

1. Literally, to eat something at a slow pace and in small bites. I wonder if Mary isn't feeling well—she only nibbled at her dinner. He sat on the bench, happily nibbling away at his cookie.
2. To erode something in small increments over time. Corrosion has been nibbling away at the hull of my boat for the past few years.
3. To bite something very softly so as not to break the surface. He started nibbling at my elbows, thinking it would turn me on.
See also: nibble
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nibble at something

to take tiny bites of some kind of food. The children nibbled at their dinner because they had eaten too much candy. Stop nibbling at that candy.
See also: nibble

nibble away at something

to eat at something in tiny bits; to erode away tiny bits of something. The waves nibbled away at the base of the cliff, year after year. The mice nibbled away at the huge wheel of cheese.
See also: away, nibble
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

nibble at

1. To eat something by taking small bites: The mice have been nibbling at the curtains.
2. To eat a small amount of something, especially unenthusiastically: She only nibbled at her peas.
3. To bite something but not break the surface; nip at something: My date nibbled at my ear during the movie.
See also: nibble
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. n. a cautious or preliminary response to something. (see also nybble.) My advertisement got three nibbles this morning.
2. in. to reply cautiously or tentatively to something. I hope someone who wants to buy my car nibbles at the description I posted on the Internet.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
See also: