1

Which word is closer in meaning to the word "niggling" in the phrase "niggling restrictions and regulations"?

  1. bothering
  2. petty

The verb "to niggle" has two meanings.

More context:

That this desire is in accordance with justice, it is impossible to deny; but something larger and more constructive is needed as a political ideal, if the victors of to-morrow are not to become the oppressors of the day after. The inspiration and outcome of a reforming movement ought to be freedom and a generous spirit, not niggling restrictions and regulations.

  • 2
    Can't tell without more context. "restrictions and regulations" could be bothering and/or petty (you don't like them vs. being unimportant). – user3169 Oct 16 '17 at 1:54
  • @user3169, I added some more context. The phrase appears at the end of a long paragraph. – apadana Oct 16 '17 at 9:25
1

The inspiration and outcome of a reforming movement ought to be freedom and a generous spirit, not niggling restrictions and regulations.

The author seems to point out that a 'reforming movement', like a revolution, instead of give the people a sense of freedom, hope and general positive outlook for an impending future of the society, gives people a sense of being restricted and told what to do.

As for the term 'niggle', I think the meaning of 'uncomfortable' and 'annoying' are more fitting, in this context.

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