mumble

[muhm-buhl]
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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.
noun
  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
Related formsmum·bler, nounmum·bling·ly, adverbhalf-mum·bled, adjectiveun·mum·bled, adjectiveun·mum·bling, adjective

Synonyms for mumble

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1, 3. See murmur.

Antonyms for mumble

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for mumbling

Contemporary Examples of mumbling

Historical Examples of mumbling

  • I liked the sound of this and so kept on mumbling "All dead, all dead."

  • His voice had a mumbling quality and I noticed the strangeness in his eyes.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • "Restrain your improper violence," he went on mumbling rapidly.

  • "Don't go near him," said O'Brien, in a thick, mumbling voice.

    Romance

    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • "Death amongst friends is but a festival," he quoted, mumbling in his moustache.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad


British Dictionary definitions for mumbling

mumble

verb
  1. to utter indistinctly, as with the mouth partly closed; mutter
  2. rare to chew (food) ineffectually or with difficulty
noun
  1. an indistinct or low utterance or sound
Derived Formsmumbler, nounmumbling, adjectivemumblingly, adverb

Word Origin for mumble

C14 momelen, from mum ²
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 mumbling

mumble

v.

early 14c., momelen, "to eat in a slow, ineffective manner" (perhaps "to talk with one's mouth full"), probably frequentative of interjection mum. The -b- is excrescent. Meaning "to speak indistinctly" is from mid-14c. Related: Mumbled; mumbling.

mumble

n.

1902, from mumble (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper