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babble

[bab-uhl]
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verb (used without object), bab·bled, bab·bling.
  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.
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verb (used with object), bab·bled, bab·bling.
  1. to utter in an incoherent, foolish, or meaningless fashion.
  2. to reveal foolishly or thoughtlessly: to babble a secret.
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noun
  1. inarticulate or imperfect speech.
  2. foolish, meaningless, or incoherent speech; prattle.
  3. a murmuring sound or a confusion of sounds.
  4. babbling(def 2).
  5. Telecommunications. a confused mixture of extraneous sounds in a circuit, resulting from cross talk from other channels.Compare cross talk(def 1).
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Origin of babble

1200–50; Middle English babelen; cognate with Old Norse babbla, Dutch babbelen, German pappelen
Related formsout·bab·ble, verb (used with object), out·bab·bled, out·bab·bling.
Can be confusedbabble Babel bauble bubble

Synonyms for babble

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

Related Words for babble

gibberish, jargon, drivel, burble, blubber, mumble, mutter, murmur, gab, ranting, jabber, blubbering, gabble, gossip, prattle, clamor, chatter, gushing, muttering, jabbering

Examples from the Web for babble

Contemporary Examples of babble

Historical Examples of babble

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for babble

babble

verb
  1. to utter (words, sounds, etc) in an incoherent or indistinct jumble
  2. (intr) to talk foolishly, incessantly, or irrelevantly
  3. (tr) to disclose (secrets, confidences, etc) carelessly or impulsively
  4. (intr) (of streams, birds, etc) to make a low murmuring or bubbling sound
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noun
  1. incoherent or foolish speech; chatter
  2. a murmuring or bubbling sound
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Derived Formsbabblement, nounbabbling, noun, adjective

Word Origin for babble

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

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.

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n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper