Definition of mumbo jumbo in English:

mumbo jumbo


mass nouninformal
  • Language or ritual causing or intended to cause confusion or bewilderment.

    ‘a maze of legal mumbo jumbo’
    • ‘That's because lenders continue to rely on what I call ‘confusion marketing’ - using financial mumbo-jumbo and an array of different deals to baffle us!’
    • ‘But one works on it for so long that all sorts of psychological mumbo-jumbo gets bound up in it.’
    • ‘Could you imagine how you would feel if you visited your doctor and he started to spout some mumbo-jumbo about your ‘humours’ being out of balance, and how the best course was for you to be purged and bled?’
    • ‘It's all mumbo-jumbo, ancient rituals that for some extraordinary reason we've stuck with.’
    • ‘But the programs aimed at putting these guys to work, according to the documents I'm looking at, are woefully underfunded and getting held up by the same old interagency mumbo-jumbo.’
    • ‘If you don't understand all of the pseudo-psychological/philosophical mumbo-jumbo, you haven't missed the point.’
    • ‘Cast away all that mumbo-jumbo new age ideas one might have about meditation.’
    • ‘Effie is at Dundee University, caught up in women's liberation meetings, Socialist Worker Party sit-ins and the incomprehensible ramblings of her tutors to explain the art of the novel in terms of post-structuralist mumbo-jumbo.’
    • ‘Little wonder that people switch off, or regard it as simply mumbo-jumbo.’
    • ‘So, in spite of what I wrote above, I don't think we should get ourselves caught up in some sort of legal mumbo-jumbo legal definition of what ‘identify’ means.’
    • ‘All that is historic mumbo-jumbo as Indonesia now turns the corner and heads for a future that could well be the envy of many.’
    • ‘Eventually, I'm told, maps will be rendered redundant by Global Positioning Systems, which will mark a triumph of science over mumbo-jumbo.’
    • ‘Don't tell me you actually believe in that sailor mumbo-jumbo.’
    • ‘The clear distinction between right and wrong has been lost in sociological mumbo-jumbo and politically correct nonsense.’
    • ‘It was if he was teasing me with the start of a question, then regressing into mumbo-jumbo just to confuse me.’
    • ‘This may sound like futuristic mumbo-jumbo, and I happily confess that I wrote the preceding paragraph with an eye to catching your attention, even if only by the somewhat dangerous route of courting your immediate disapproval!’
    • ‘But that's all insider mumbo-jumbo which is really neither here nor there.’
    • ‘Because that's when mumbo-jumbo has taken over from reason.’
    • ‘We'll worry about the legal mumbo-jumbo later, but expect the menu to remain the same.’
    • ‘I don't think he is looking for handouts, just someone to shine a path for him through all the jargon and technical mumbo-jumbo.’
    nonsense, gibberish, claptrap, rubbish, balderdash, blather, blether
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Mid 18th century (as Mumbo Jumbo, denoting a supposed African idol): of unknown origin; the current sense dates from the late 19th century.


mumbo jumbo

/ˌmʌmbəʊ ˈdʒʌmbəʊ/