verb (used without object), bab·bled, bab·bling.

verb (used with object), bab·bled, bab·bling.

to utter in an incoherent, foolish, or meaningless fashion.
to reveal foolishly or thoughtlessly: to babble a secret.


Origin of babble

First recorded in 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 bauble bubble

Synonyms for babble Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for babble

Contemporary Examples of babble

  • In fact, I described them this way myself when I wrote about infant memory two years ago for Babble.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What Your Baby Remembers

    Heather Turgeon

    November 9, 2010

  • Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Washington Post, Salon, and Babble.

    The Daily Beast logo
    You're Pregnant, Have a Drink

    Kate Tuttle

    October 6, 2010

  • Taffy Brodesser-Akner has written for the Los Angeles Times, Salon, and Babble, among other publications.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Who's Killing the Soaps?

    Taffy Brodesser-Akner

    December 14, 2009

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



to utter (words, sounds, etc) in an incoherent or indistinct jumble
(intr) to talk foolishly, incessantly, or irrelevantly
(tr) to disclose (secrets, confidences, etc) carelessly or impulsively
(intr) (of streams, birds, etc) to make a low murmuring or bubbling sound


incoherent or foolish speech; chatter
a murmuring or bubbling sound
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

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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper