Definition of bicker in English:



  • 1Argue about petty and trivial matters.

    ‘couples who bicker over who gets what from the divorce’
    • ‘This year there isn't going to be any more squabbling, no more bickering, no more fighting..’
    • ‘Jerry was left staring at his parents, who continued to bicker and argue.’
    • ‘Put off by bickering between his father and uncle over the family business, Alan went his own way.’
    • ‘Think of those you love and don't spend what may be your last days bickering about petty things.’
    • ‘It was sad that the Council had to bicker over who should pay for the work.’
    • ‘The eccentric singer says he has a wonderful relationship with his lover of 11 years, but they love bickering and even argue over who gets to sit where.’
    • ‘Individual directors may disagree, bicker, dispute, squabble, fight or even disobey the chairman.’
    • ‘He said: ‘There was bickering between the two companies.’’
    • ‘He rolled his eyes and turned on the radio effectively stopping any more bickering between us.’
    • ‘Two older men bicker over the rules of their game, in which they pit pet crickets against one another in battle.’
    • ‘‘Enough of the petty bickering you two,’ the blonde woman said playfully.’
    • ‘They fight and bicker over nothing, over petty cultural differences.’
    • ‘I've counseled both of them separately, but it hasn't seemed to have done much good, as the two of them continue to bicker over things that would normally be shrugged off.’
    • ‘It is now a useless exercise to bicker over who is at fault, but the immediate task is to help rebuild damaged infrastructure and help affected residents recover from the floods.’
    • ‘In what looks like an average onstage dissection of a relationship, a boyfriend and girlfriend who live together bicker and spar over trivialities.’
    • ‘Additionally, the two sides routinely bicker over the disputed islands, a supposedly oil-rich area.’
    • ‘‘People expect us to do what we can to work together, at least most of the time,’ he added, indicating a bid to stop bickering between rival political factions on the authority.’
    • ‘But regardless of endless Government and opposition bickering on the matter - or maybe because of it - there is still a huge amount of public apathy on this referendum.’
    • ‘Brothers are meant to bicker, no matter how old they are.’
    • ‘We never got along with one another and were frequently bickering and arguing.’
    squabble, argue
    quarrel, wrangle, fight, fall out, have a disagreement, disagree, dispute, spar, bandy words, have words, be at each other's throats, lock horns
    scrap, argufy, have a tiff, have a spat, spat
    row, have a row, have a barney
    altercate, chop logic
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  • 2literary (of water) flow or fall with a gentle repetitive noise; patter.

    ‘against the glass the rain did beat and bicker’
    • ‘A path led in the foot of it, the water bickered and sang in the midst.’
    • ‘I remember lying on the coping of a stone bridge over the water of Teviot, admiring the green-brown tint of the swift stream bickering over the stones.’
    • ‘Now the sun lay softly upon it, and a stream bickered through a glade, and now the path lay through thickets, which hid the further woodland from view.’
    • ‘The sound of rain bickering outside his window was driving him crazy.’
    • ‘The sound of water bickering down the winding way of a stream gave life and coolness to the warm silence.’
    pitter-patter, tap, drum, clatter, beat, pound, rattle, throb, pulsate, rat-a-tat, go pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, clack, click-clack, thrum
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    1. 2.1(of a flame or light) flash, gleam, or flicker.
      ‘the restless wheels whose flashing spokes bicker and burn’
      • ‘At last the end came; the light bickered for a moment, flared up for the last time, and then went out.’
      • ‘How the flame bickers, and quivers, and flickers, darting its eager tongues about!’
      • ‘In one or two instances there has appeared, when the light was totally excluded, a faint lambent flame bickering over them.’
      • ‘And a wood-fire bickered on the iron-work fire-back, under whose oak over-mantel Sir Philip sat with us ten minutes, then took himself away into his own sequestered nook of the house.’


Middle English: of unknown origin.