• 1[in singular] The confused sound of a group of people talking simultaneously.

    ‘a babble of protest’
    • ‘After a dozen dizzying turns past stalls crammed with fruit, meat, shoes and screws, Zuniga hears a sharp animal screech above the babble of buying and selling.’
    • ‘The gorgeous changing colors of the high-tech map were accompanied by sound: the babble of many meteorologists overlaid by the powerful roar of wind and waves.’
    • ‘Just the babble of the 24-hour television newscasters.’
    • ‘I banged the book shut and silenced the babble of my inner teachers.’
    • ‘There was a rising babble of ‘ews’, and other sounds of sympathy and disgust.’
    • ‘Instead, American viewers will have to strain to make out whole words from the constant babble of wild sound and West Indian accents.’
    • ‘Sitting outside the bar there is a light babble of a foreign tongue trilling off the tongues of groups of people enjoying leisurely drinks.’
    • ‘There was a moment of silence from the others, then a babble that sounded like a catfight in a blender, some directing questions and demands at me in a torrent I couldn't follow.’
    • ‘This is the babble of many tongues as they are simultaneously translated in the glass towers in the stone city.’
    • ‘When I went down to visit her we spoke in the babble that sounded to other people like a language.’
    • ‘This mimics the tone of real speech but sounds like the incomprehensible babble of those claymation shows on the ABC in the 1980s.’
    • ‘If children have minds like sponges that can absorb other languages effortlessly, my own grey matter seems to be more of a clam, clamped shut and deaf to the multilingual babble around me.’
    • ‘From an uncertain corner in another part of the pub, there was a babble of bedlam.’
    • ‘If you set a tape recorder running at a noisy party you would most likely hear something resembling a confused babble.’
    • ‘In the background he could hear the voices of the passengers asking the same question in a babble of noise.’
    • ‘I was enthusing to an old friend about this vibrant new Edinburgh I'd found - the packed cafe terraces, the babble of foreign tongues, the cosmopolitan atmosphere.’
    • ‘This was what the crowd had come for and every time Caucau received the ball after that there was a babble of anticipation.’
    • ‘I'm picking these sounds out from the babble of the past, a raucous market fair of a landscape that stretches out as far as the eye can see.’
    • ‘Then a babble of talk and tension-relieving laughter breaks out.’
    • ‘Fay ably expresses the feelings of many as they try to decipher the babble of words coming from the religious sector following the tsunami.’
    clamour, din, racket, confused noise, tumult, uproar, hubbub
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    1. 1.1Foolish, excited, or confused talk.
      ‘her soft voice stopped his babble’
      • ‘She had continued her endless babble when I realised that she was looking at me some what expectantly.’
      • ‘As you can tell from my inane babble above, not much has been going on round these parts lately.’
      • ‘She pulled him off of the sofa and placed his arm around her shoulder once more, pulling him up the steps carefully, placidly listening to his babble.’
      • ‘Dose's continuous incoherent diatribe evokes in turn the babble of a madman, the discourse of a preacher or the conversation of a child.’
      • ‘Sam can't even muster the chutzpah to blast back at a heckler with the bile we know he can spit, instead muttering some lame babble.’
      • ‘Lilatte shoved the pillow over her head, trying to drown out Honey's endless babble.’
      • ‘Although she was odd, silently I knew I enjoyed her insensible babble.’
      • ‘I had been waiting a very long time for this talk with the retention officer, just so I could hear his inane babble and immediately shoot down his flimsy efforts.’
      • ‘She does seem very quick to understand my situation from the tearful babble which comes out of me when I see her.’
      • ‘He had merely stood there, tall and silent, piercing her with his incessant gaze, until her words had died to a senseless babble.’
      • ‘She stopped her excited babble and grabbed my wrist, dragging me off to math class.’
      • ‘That way, you'll have some idea of where I'm going with all my babble.’
      • ‘Some said maybe he was Swedish, but his incomprehensible babble was little help in discovering his identity.’
      • ‘Make you dream about him, his movements, his gregarious nature, his constant babble.’
      • ‘She's makes my nonstop babble look like child's play.’
      • ‘He'd be happy to tag along, and in return for putting up with his incessant babble, I would make him pay for gas, brew, and Taco Bell.’
      • ‘Um, well if I'm decipher that pile of babble correctly… are you offering me a job?’
      • ‘He gets in touch with his Indian heritage and a wisdom drenched phrase bubbles through his drunken babble.’
      • ‘He took my face in his hands and kissed me, silencing my endless stream of mindless babble.’
      • ‘She had also said many other things, but to Mary it had seemed like insensible babble.’
      prattle, gabble, chatter, jabber, prating, rambling, blather, blether
      gibbering, gibberish, drivel
      gab, yak, yackety-yak, yabbering, yatter, twaddle
      wittering, waffle, natter, chuntering
      clack, twattle
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    2. 1.2[mass noun]Background disturbance caused by interference from conversations on other telephone lines.
      • ‘The resulting babble of overlapping signals can confuse the receiver.’
      • ‘To test this, we added background babble (from the SPIN-R test) and replicated the experiment with another group of younger listeners.’
      noise, din, hubbub, clamour, row, uproar, hullabaloo, tumult, commotion, rumpus, fracas, pandemonium, clangour, brouhaha, disturbance
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  • 2The continuous murmuring sound of water flowing over stones in a stream.

    ‘the babble of a brook’
    • ‘In plants, a babble of water and small molecules flows through the plasmodesmata between cells.’
    • ‘From up stream came the babble of the brook like dainty laughter.’
    • ‘The sounds coming from the workshops combine with the babble of the stream to create an authentic atmosphere of the settlement of old.’
    • ‘In fact, I don't think he even heard me, although he was barely 20 yards away and there was no other sound but the babble of the beck.’
    • ‘In the silence of the grove, she heard the pleasant babble of the stream, except that it was no longer a quiet sloshing.’
    • ‘The pervasive pink petals of the cherry blossom trees flutter to the ground like the soft powder of a mountain peak, while the babble of the bubbling brook pervades the air.’
    • ‘The catacombs, and the lovingly tended graves within, have embalmed the lives and loves of centuries past in a deathly stillness, broken only by the babble of a passing brook.’
    • ‘Today however, the high pitched beep beep of a truck in reverse, unloading lumber for a new house, could be heard over the babble of the stream.’