Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

babble

[bab-uh l] /ˈbæb əl/
verb (used without object), babbled, babbling.
1.
to utter sounds or words imperfectly, indistinctly, or without meaning.
2.
to talk idly, irrationally, excessively, or foolishly; chatter or prattle.
3.
to make a continuous, murmuring sound.
verb (used with object), babbled, babbling.
4.
to utter in an incoherent, foolish, or meaningless fashion.
5.
to reveal foolishly or thoughtlessly:
to babble a secret.
noun
6.
inarticulate or imperfect speech.
7.
foolish, meaningless, or incoherent speech; prattle.
8.
a murmuring sound or a confusion of sounds.
9.
babbling (def 2).
10.
Telecommunications. a confused mixture of extraneous sounds in a circuit, resulting from cross talk from other channels.
Compare cross talk (def 1).
Origin of babble
1200-1250
1200-50; Middle English babelen; cognate with Old Norse babbla, Dutch babbelen, German pappelen
Related forms
outbabble, verb (used with object), outbabbled, outbabbling.
Can be confused
babble, Babel, bauble, bubble.
Synonyms
2. chitchat, gabble, drivel, blather. 3. murmur, gurgle, burble.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for babble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thence a babble of excited voices had reached him as he approached.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • Her words, too, were incoherent, as incoherent as the babble of the children themselves.

  • Donegal listened; and there was no babble of voices, and the rest of the orchestra was silent.

    Death of a Spaceman Walter M. Miller
  • For a time Renouard, silent, as if he had not heard a word of all that babble, did not stir.

    Within the Tides Joseph Conrad
  • There was a babble of voices from the loudspeaker, punctuated by bursts of static.

    Death Wish Robert Sheckley
  • It must be awfully trying, though, not to be able to babble when you're pleased.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther
  • They followed their aunt to the waiting cars, where a babble of greetings met them.

    Phyllis

    Dorothy Whitehill
British Dictionary definitions for babble

babble

/ˈbæbəl/
verb
1.
to utter (words, sounds, etc) in an incoherent or indistinct jumble
2.
(intransitive) to talk foolishly, incessantly, or irrelevantly
3.
(transitive) to disclose (secrets, confidences, etc) carelessly or impulsively
4.
(intransitive) (of streams, birds, etc) to make a low murmuring or bubbling sound
noun
5.
incoherent or foolish speech; chatter
6.
a murmuring or bubbling sound
Derived Forms
babblement, noun
babbling, noun, adjective
Word Origin
C13: compare Dutch babbelen, Swedish babbla, French babiller to prattle, Latin babulus fool; probably all of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for babble
v.

mid-13c., babeln "to prattle, chatter," akin to other Western European words for stammering and prattling (cf. Swedish babbla, Old French babillier) attested from the same era, some of which probably were borrowed from others, but etymologists cannot now determine which were original. Probably imitative of baby-talk, in any case (cf. Latin babulus "babbler," Greek barbaros "non-Greek-speaking"). "No direct connexion with Babel can be traced; though association with that may have affected the senses" [OED]. Meaning "to repeat oneself incoherently, speak foolishly" is attested from c.1400. Related: Babbled; babbling.

n.

"idle talk," c.1500, from babble (v.). In 16c., commonly in reduplicated form bibble-babble.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for babble

Word Value for babble

12
16
Scrabble Words With Friends