1650s, "act of nibbling," from nibble (v.). As "a small bite," from 1838.
"to bite gently," c. 1500, perhaps from Low German nibbeln "to nibble, gnaw," related to Middle Low German nibbelen, Middle Dutch knibbelen "to gnaw," source of Dutch knibbelen "to cavail, squabble." Related: Nibbled; nibbling.
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