nibble at

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

nibble (away) on (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 on her dinner. He sat on the bench, happily nibbling away on his cookie.
2. To bite something very softly so as not to break the surface. He started nibbling on my elbows, thinking it would turn me on.
See also: nibble, on

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 at

v.
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
References in classic literature ?
Crouching beside the brook, I waited until one of the diminutive purple whales rose to nibble at the long grasses which overhung the water, and then, like the beast of prey that man really is, I sprang upon my victim, appeasing my hunger while he yet wriggled to escape.
The Christmas Mouse It all seemed quiet In the Jarvis house The parents were asleep From baby Alex not even peep Then from a corner, came a little squeak The Christmas mouse was wide awake Thought he'd have a nibble At the Xmas cake Searching the kitchen No cake to be found Safely in the cupboard Out of bounds What could he eat this Christmas Night Squeezing under the dining room door He looked for crumbs left on the floor Not a crumb, not a nibble in sight Climbing onto a chair He could not help but stare On the table left on a plate A mince pie and a piece of Xmas cake Edging closer he looked around Thought he'd heard a sound Jumping down from the chair Big Boots crossed the floor He nearly got squashed Behind the door Looking up, all he could see Was a man in a red suit Eating his tea.
Wearing a cowgirl hat and Daisy Duke-style shorts, she giggled as the stallion - that's the horse, not Ryan - suddenly appeared behind her and took a nibble at her backside.
"Rabbits will often nibble at the bark of these prunings in preference to young trees," said Ministry of Agriculture Horticulture Advisor Mr.
All you have to do is - wait for it - have a nibble at some Chilli Worm Crisps, Thai Green Curry Crickets or toffee with a real scorpion in the middle.
Worthy groups such as the League of Conservation Voters can only nibble at the edges of our society's environmental problems because they are structured as "beggars at the door." As such, they can win a few, temporary victories such as holding off drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a few months at a time, but they cannot create the comprehensive policy changes such as the phasing out of fossil fuels and nuclear power that our society needs.
Each story is 20 to 30 minutes long, one per tape side, so it is possible to nibble at the stories like English toffees.