Nib vs nub

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| Grammarist

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| Spelling, Words


nib is something small that comes to a point. Originally it was the tip of a quill pen, and now is commonly used to describe the metal piece at the end of an ink-well pen or the tip of any writing instrument. It may also mean a bird’s beak or bill.

In cooking, a nib is a small piece of a roasted product, like coffee or cocoa beans. It is always used in a compound form, such as, cacao nib or coffee nib.

nub may also mean a tiny piece that projects or sticks out, though not generally coming to a point. It may be used as a synonym for gist or essence of a problem.

Other synonyms for a small projecting piece can be nubbin, knob, or lump.


The price is a little steep—at $225—but each participant receives a personalized calligraphy starter kit which includes a black ink, pen holder, nib, practice book and sheets. [LAist]

The front page design was clean and provided space for an end-leg to project a free wall planner, news nib, sports review and calendar, and fresh fish discount – although the ‘Happy New Year’ message might have been more colourful. [Hold The Front Page]

If your tyre has less than 1.4mm of tread depth (as a guide, the nib of a matchstick), it’s illegal and dangerous. [News AU]


Announced by Environment Minister Amy Adams at the party conference last year, the nub of the changes involves putting economic development considerations on an equal footing with environmental considerations when considering use of resources. [New Zealand Herald]

The pop-out button, when elevated from the phone itself, behaves in a similar manner to the PSP and Nintendo 3DS analogue nubs, allowing for 360-degree movement. [Game Spot]

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