• synonyms


[driv-uh l]
  1. saliva flowing from the mouth, or mucus from the nose; slaver.
  2. childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle.
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verb (used without object), driv·eled, driv·el·ing or (especially British) driv·elled, driv·el·ling.
  1. to let saliva flow from the mouth or mucus from the nose; slaver.
  2. to talk childishly or idiotically.
  3. Archaic. to issue like spittle.
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verb (used with object), driv·eled, driv·el·ing or (especially British) driv·elled, driv·el·ling.
  1. to utter childishly or idiotically.
  2. to waste foolishly.
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Origin of drivel

before 1000; Middle English dryvelen, variant of drevelen, Old English dreflian; akin to draff
Related formsdriv·el·er; especially British, driv·el·ler, noundriv·el·ing·ly; especially British, driv·el·ling·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for drivelling

Historical Examples

  • "I can only say, once more, I'm as innocent as the drivelling snow," repeated Leander.

    The Tinted Venus

    F. Anstey

  • His enthusiasm for nature was but the drivelling sensibility of the drunkard.

    The Trembling of a Leaf

    William Somerset Maugham

  • This is the mood I hate so—drivelling about his precious family.

    The Second Mrs. Tanqueray

    Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

  • Here am I drivelling on just as if I knew what I was talking about.

  • I was in drivelling dotage, to think that she would be aught else than the rest of them.

British Dictionary definitions for drivelling


verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. to allow (saliva) to flow from the mouth; dribble
  2. (intr) to speak foolishly or childishly
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  1. foolish or senseless talk
  2. saliva flowing from the mouth; slaver
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Derived Formsdriveller or US driveler, noun

Word Origin

Old English dreflian to slaver; see draff
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 drivelling



Old English dreflian "to dribble or run at the nose, slobber," from Proto-Germanic *drablojanan, from PIE *dher- "to make muddy." Meaning "to speak nonsense" is mid-14c. Related: Driveling, drivelling.

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early 14c., drevel "saliva, slaver," from drivel (v.). Meaning "idiotic speech or writing" is from 1852.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper