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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
  • His boastful accents died away into a mumble: "Dunno what I should do."

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • He squeezed my arm till he extorted from me some sort of mumble.

    Falk Joseph Conrad
  • I understood his mumble to mean that "he didn't know any game."

    Falk Joseph Conrad
  • Gone was the mumble, gone was every thought except the misery of the minute.

    Phyllis

    Dorothy Whitehill
  • When he would cry out to her his frozen lips could mumble no words.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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