[ gahr-buh l ]
/ ˈgɑr bəl /

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

to confuse unintentionally or ignorantly; jumble: to garble instructions.
to make unfair or misleading selections from or arrangement of (fact, statements, writings, etc.); distort: to garble a quotation.
Archaic. to take out the best of.


the act or process of garbling.
an instance of garbling; a garbled phrase, literary passage, etc.

Origin of garble

1400–50; late Middle English garbelen to remove refuse from spices < Old Italian garbellare to sift < Arabic gharbala < Late Latin crībellāre, derivative of crībellum, diminutive of Latin crībrum sieve (see -elle); probably influenced by garboil


gar·ble·a·ble, adjectivegar·bler, nounun·gar·bled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for garbled

British Dictionary definitions for garbled (1 of 2)

/ (ˈɡɑːbəld) /


jumbled or unclear because of distortion or omissions

British Dictionary definitions for garbled (2 of 2)

/ (ˈɡɑːbəl) /

verb (tr)

to jumble (a story, quotation, etc), esp unintentionally
to distort the meaning of (an account, text, etc), as by making misleading omissions; corrupt
rare to select the best part of


  1. the act of garbling
  2. garbled matter

Derived forms of garble

garbler, noun

Word Origin for garble

C15: from Old Italian garbellare to strain, sift, from Arabic gharbala, from ghirbāl sieve, from Late Latin crībellum small sieve, from crībrum sieve
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