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verb (used without object)
  1. to utter words indistinctly or in a low tone, often as if talking to oneself; murmur.
  2. to complain murmuringly; grumble.
  3. to make a low, rumbling sound.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to utter indistinctly or in a low tone: to mutter complaints.
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  1. the act or utterance of a person who mutters.
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Origin of mutter

1325–75; Middle English moteren, perhaps frequentative of moot1 (Old English mōtian to speak); see -er6
Related formsmut·ter·er, nounmut·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·mut·tered, adjectiveun·mut·ter·ing, adjectiveun·mut·ter·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for mutter

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

Related Words for mutter

moan, growl, groan, whisper, snarl, murmur, sputter, complain, grouse, muddle, rumble, grouch, swallow, grunt, croak

Examples from the Web for mutter

Contemporary Examples of mutter

Historical Examples of mutter

  • "No living aunt ever looked as you do now," Kitty will mutter, shaking her head.

  • I heard him mutter as he neared the boat-house where Fin and I were stowing cargo.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • I was near enough to hear him mutter: "How the devil comes this here?"

  • Gervaise entered, greatly embarrassed, not even daring to mutter an excuse.


    Emile Zola

  • A shadow flitted in front of it, and he stopped to chuckle evilly and mutter.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

British Dictionary definitions for mutter


  1. to utter (something) in a low and indistinct tone
  2. (intr) to grumble or complain
  3. (intr) to make a low continuous murmuring sound
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  1. a muttered sound or complaint
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Derived Formsmutterer, nounmuttering, noun, adjectivemutteringly, adverb

Word Origin for mutter

C14 moteren; related to Norwegian (dialect) mutra, Old High German mutilōn; compare Old English mōtian to speak


  1. Anne-Sophie. born 1963, German violinist
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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 mutter


early 14c., moteren "to mumble," from a common PIE imitative *mut- "to grunt, mutter" (cf. Old Norse muðla "to murmur," Latin muttire "to mutter," Old High German mutilon "to murmur, mutter; to drizzle"), with frequentative suffix -er. Related: Muttered; muttering.

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1630s, from mutter (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper