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mumble

[muhm-buh l] /ˈmʌm bəl/
verb (used without object), mumbled, mumbling.
1.
to speak in a low indistinct manner, almost to an unintelligible extent; mutter.
2.
to chew ineffectively, as from loss of teeth:
to mumble on a crust.
verb (used with object), mumbled, mumbling.
3.
to say or utter indistinctly, as with partly closed lips:
He mumbled something about expenses.
4.
to chew, or try to eat, with difficulty, as from loss of teeth.
noun
5.
a low, indistinct utterance or sound.
Origin of mumble
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English momelen, equivalent to mom(me) mum1 + -elen -le; compare Dutch mommelen, German mummeln
Related forms
mumbler, noun
mumblingly, adverb
half-mumbled, adjective
unmumbled, adjective
unmumbling, adjective
Synonyms
1, 3. See murmur.
Antonyms
1. articulate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mumble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When I stepped back from the teller's window, Boris lunged against me and started to mumble something.

    El Diablo Brayton Norton
  • A mumble filled the room, followed by moments of animated discussion.

    The Loyalist James Francis Barrett
  • My blank face showed him his mistake, and he dropped my hand and began to mumble out apologies.

    A College Girl Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • I would not mumble, but learn the art of clear, distinct speech.

    21 Frank Crane
  • The preacher again began to mumble a prayer, and the whole pack with him; and then they prayed again, this time not so loudly.

    True Bear Stories Joaquin Miller
British Dictionary definitions for mumble

mumble

/ˈmʌmbəl/
verb
1.
to utter indistinctly, as with the mouth partly closed; mutter
2.
(rare) to chew (food) ineffectually or with difficulty
noun
3.
an indistinct or low utterance or sound
Derived Forms
mumbler, noun
mumbling, adjective
mumblingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14 momelen, from mum²
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
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Word Origin and History for mumble
v.

early 14c., momelen, "to eat in a slow, ineffective manner" (perhaps "to talk with one's mouth full"), probably frequentative of interjection mum. The -b- is excrescent. Meaning "to speak indistinctly" is from mid-14c. Related: Mumbled; mumbling.

n.

1902, from mumble (v.).

n.

1902, from mumble (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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