foolish or meaningless chatter; prattle: the constant babbling of idle gossips.
the random production of meaningless vocal sounds characteristic of infants after about the sixth week.


chattering or prattling aimlessly.

Origin of babbling

Middle English word dating back to 1200–50; see origin at babble, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsbab·bling·ly, adverb



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

to utter sounds or words imperfectly, indistinctly, or without meaning.
to talk idly, irrationally, excessively, or foolishly; chatter or prattle.
to make a continuous, murmuring sound.

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.


inarticulate or imperfect speech.
foolish, meaningless, or incoherent speech; prattle.
a murmuring sound or a confusion of sounds.
Telecommunications. a confused mixture of extraneous sounds in a circuit, resulting from cross talk from other channels.Compare cross talk(def 1).

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 babbling

Contemporary Examples of babbling

Historical Examples of babbling

British Dictionary definitions for babbling



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 babbling



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