[ muhm-buhl ]
See synonyms for: mumblemumbledmumbling on

verb (used without object),mum·bled, mum·bling.
  1. to speak in a low indistinct manner, almost to an unintelligible extent; mutter.

  2. to chew ineffectively, as from loss of teeth: to mumble on a crust.

verb (used with object),mum·bled, mum·bling.
  1. to say or utter indistinctly, as with partly closed lips: He mumbled something about expenses.

  2. to chew, or try to eat, with difficulty, as from loss of teeth.

  1. a low, indistinct utterance or sound.

Origin of mumble

1275–1325; Middle English momelen, equivalent to mom(me) mum1 + -elen-le; compare Dutch mommelen,German mummeln

synonym study For mumble

See murmur.

Opposites for mumble

Other words from mumble

  • mumbler, noun
  • mum·bling·ly, adverb
  • half-mumbled, adjective
  • un·mum·bled, adjective
  • un·mum·bling, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mumble in a sentence

  • Whatever it was, the rebuke was convincing, for the woman dropped her hoe and went mumbling into the house.

  • He remembered the mumbling old woman in her chair; but most of all he remembered the girl who sat opposite him.

    The Cromptons | Mary J. Holmes
  • Sprawling across the table, his huge head lying upon his hands, she beheld the Chief Factor, mumbling in incoherent phrases.

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham
  • The voices outside the gate sank into a low confused mumbling.

  • Nina, delighted to see the animal once more, was caressing his long ears and mumbling baby-talk to him.

    The Tigress | Anne Warner

British Dictionary definitions for mumble


/ (ˈmʌmbəl) /

  1. to utter indistinctly, as with the mouth partly closed; mutter

  2. rare to chew (food) ineffectually or with difficulty

  1. an indistinct or low utterance or sound

Origin of mumble

C14 momelen, from mum ²

Derived forms of mumble

  • mumbler, noun
  • mumbling, adjective
  • mumblingly, adverb

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