noun, plural mum·bo jum·bos.
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Origin of mumbo jumbo
Words nearby mumbo jumbo
ABOUT THIS WORD
More context on mumbo jumbo
When someone isn’t making any sense, we might joke that they’re talking mumbo jumbo. However, it may not originally mean “a whole lot of mumbling.”
The potential problem with mumbo jumbo, though, is that it may have historically likened the speech or customs of African peoples to “nonsense,” as if unintelligible or amusing in some way to the European colonists who introduced or modified maamajomboo into the English language.
If knowing the history of mumbo jumbo has got you reflecting on your word choices, this slideshow, “These Common Words Have Offensive Histories,” discusses many other words whose place in your vocab you may want to reconsider.
Keep in mind …
You might want to avoid using mumbo jumbo due to its potentially offensive implications and past. Some words you can consider instead of mumbo jumbo—for the many times we all mutter on in incomprehensible lingo or babble incoherently—include gibberish, hogwash, hocus-pocus, or gobbledygook.
Make sense of more nonsense words over at Thesaurus.com.
Example sentences from the Web for mumbo jumbo
Full of mumbo-jumbo about "inner-directed" and "outer-directed" personalities.This Crowded Earth|Robert Bloch
No mumbo-jumbo of superstition, no awe of strangers who had suddenly descended upon them from the sky.Impact|Irving E. Cox
"Every society has its mumbo-jumbo to keep it in order," said Arkwright.The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig|David Graham Phillips
They may fill the interval with hoodoo rites, caste divisions or Mumbo-Jumbo worship, as they please.Problems of the Pacific|Frank Fox
Ive no use for your Mumbo-Jumbo trickery and Manchester morality.John Brown|Captain R. W. Campbell