Definition of nobble in English:



  • 1Try to influence or thwart by underhand or unfair methods.

    ‘an attempt to nobble the jury’
    • ‘So we have a sitting MP and Minister using the Public Service Code of Conduct in an effort to nobble his electoral competition.’
    • ‘At first, the pair try to head off their enemy at the pass, so to speak, by nobbling his ham-fisted henchmen.’
    • ‘On the other hand, perhaps they saw the law on presidential elections as a chance to nobble their rivals before they even got to the start line.’
    • ‘We are concerned to make sure that people do not nobble juries - that juries do not have a rogue element that will not be convinced either way and simply not look at the issues.’
    • ‘The prisons are packed and new ones being built as fast as possible, the Wood Commission reforms have been rolled back and the Ombudsman and Police Integrity Commission nobbled.’
    • ‘But it is much harder to nobble 12 independent jurors than it is to bribe or intimidate one judge.’
    • ‘You don't fight crime by nobbling juries and fixing trials, but by hiring officers who can catch criminals, a task which appears to be beyond Sir John.’
    • ‘The board feel, to put it mildly, that they have been nobbled.’
    • ‘Many people, and I have talked to a large number, mainly women, in this category of being the second-income earner, are desperately keen to get back into the workforce, but are nobbled by the high cost of childcare.’
    • ‘Those attracted to John Howard's proposal to nobble the Senate to stop it obstructing his legislation should look first at what he and his predecessors have already done to the House of Representatives.’
    • ‘Everyone is convinced they are being ripped off and the main strategy is to nobble your opponent.’
    • ‘We may sometimes unwittingly be nobbled by anti-war campaigners.’
    • ‘While dismissing the notion of trying to nobble his rival in the ensuing training sessions, he admitted it had been an unusual mix of emotions.’
    • ‘Not only have they revolted against the attempts by the whips to nobble select committees, they're starting to talk out of turn in Westminster.’
    • ‘There are three counts of perverting the course of justice where, in colloquial language, you tried to nobble the prosecution witnesses before the authorities got to them.’
    • ‘He wastes five long years nobbling Hanson silently and quietly via the courts!’
    • ‘British courts are less corruptible than their European counterparts because it is easier to nobble one judge than 12 jurors.’
    bribe, corrupt, suborn, buy, buy off, pay off, get at, induce, lure, entice, grease someone's palm, oil someone's hand, oil someone's palm
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    1. 1.1Tamper with (a racehorse or greyhound) to prevent it from winning a race, especially by giving it a drug.
      ‘a doping ring nobbled three of the trainer's horses in 1990’
      • ‘It would be neatly symmetrical if he were recalled for Saturday, for it was at the Millennium stadium six weeks ago that he was in such blistering form for Munster before being nobbled.’
      drug, dope
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  • 2Obtain dishonestly; steal.

    ‘he intended to nobble Rose's money’
    steal, thieve, rob, embezzle
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    1. 2.1Seize or accost (someone)
      ‘they nobbled him and threw him on to the train’
      ‘people always tried to nobble her at parties’
      • ‘Yet he manages to nobble a number of people who first agree to contribute to the film, and then mysteriously drop out.’
      • ‘I was in the middle of ordering a very expensive round of gins and tonics when I was nobbled by one of the wedding guests at the bar.’
      • ‘But then, when the official part was over, I was nobbled by a man in the English Department.’
      • ‘When the team of waiting staff delivered the last of the meals and wished us bon appétit, I nobbled the waiter nearest me.’
      abduct, seize, capture, kidnap, catch, apprehend, arrest, take into custody, take in, bring in
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Mid 19th century: probably a variant of dialect knobble, knubble ‘knock, strike with the knuckles’.