"'Nibling' is just a gender-neutral term for niece or nephew," a person in a video posted to Libs of TikTok announced. "So if your sibling's child is gender-nonconforming or non-binary, 'nibling' is a great term for them."
"If you're referring to multiple nieces and nephews, 'nibbling' is an easier way to say that," they went on.
Twitter users replied to the explanation of the word.
"I like how they talk about these things as if the definitions have been around for years and not just made up 5 minutes ago," one user replied.
"Doesn't that also mean taking a small bite of something? Why in the hell would you call them niblings?" another confused commenter questioned.
"I am convinced the people profiled on @libsoftiktok sit around a bar somewhere and make wagers over who can make up the most ridiculous word and get attention after making a TikTok video," a third commenter speculated.
American author and film producer Olivia Harrison explained that she thinks the term is controversial for nothing in an online opinion.
"Don't get me wrong, I think gender-neutral terms are really important. Gender is a social construct and the gender binary is limiting and even damaging for so many, which is why it's imperative to normalize gender-neutral language. And, I find the widespread preoccupation with children's genders particularly disturbing. Why must people use #girl dad or #boymom when posting about their kids online? And just how many horrific accidents have to be caused by gender reveal parties for us to realize that this obsession is actively harmful? Also, there are gender-neutral terms for nearly every other familial relationship — parent, child, cousin, sibling — so why must the niece-nephew, aunt-uncle relationship be gendered? We most certainly need a gender-neutral term for our sibling's kids — but we don't need it to be niblings," she wrote.
"Where did the word 'niblings' even come from? From my perspective, seemingly out of nowhere — but now it's everywhere. Suddenly, my Instagram feed is filled with people using the term to talk lovingly about their sibling's kids. Each time I see it, my brow furrows and my lip snarls in disgust. When did all these people agree that niblings — a word that conjures up mental images of tiny nubs of fungi or a nest of wriggling larvae — would be a good thing to call innocent children?" she went on.