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verb (used without object)
  1. to utter words indistinctly or in a low tone, often as if talking to oneself; murmur.
  2. to complain murmuringly; grumble.
  3. to make a low, rumbling sound.
verb (used with object)
  1. to utter indistinctly or in a low tone: to mutter complaints.
  1. the act or utterance of a person who mutters.

Origin of mutter

1325–75; Middle English moteren, perhaps frequentative of moot1 (Old English mōtian to speak); see -er6
Related formsmut·ter·er, nounmut·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·mut·tered, adjectiveun·mut·ter·ing, adjectiveun·mut·ter·ing·ly, adverb


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1. See murmur.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for muttered

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • “Not but what she would have royal example,” muttered Tibble aside.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • "He must have stolen it," muttered Halbert, looking after Robert with disappointment and chagrin.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "Nothing but a half loaf, and that's dry enough," muttered the stranger.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • “I hope he will yet give the mounseer a good shaking,” muttered Smallbones.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • "A six-foot stave throws a twelve-foot shadow," he muttered.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

British Dictionary definitions for muttered


  1. to utter (something) in a low and indistinct tone
  2. (intr) to grumble or complain
  3. (intr) to make a low continuous murmuring sound
  1. a muttered sound or complaint
Derived Formsmutterer, nounmuttering, noun, adjectivemutteringly, adverb

Word Origin

C14 moteren; related to Norwegian (dialect) mutra, Old High German mutilōn; compare Old English mōtian to speak


  1. Anne-Sophie. born 1963, German violinist
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

Word Origin and History for muttered



early 14c., moteren "to mumble," from a common PIE imitative *mut- "to grunt, mutter" (cf. Old Norse muðla "to murmur," Latin muttire "to mutter," Old High German mutilon "to murmur, mutter; to drizzle"), with frequentative suffix -er. Related: Muttered; muttering.



1630s, from mutter (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper