Definition of babble in English:



  • 1 Talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way.

    ‘he would babble on in his gringo Spanish’
    • ‘All around her, the other children happily babbled away and adults occupied themselves with inexplicable activities.’
    • ‘Ten gazillion questions that I'd like to hear posed and answered, and they babble on about our ‘go-it-alone’ policy.’
    • ‘It's unfair to criticise here or to babble on about the facilities we have back home.’
    • ‘How refreshing, she must have thought, as she babbled away like a four-year-old on the arm of her father.’
    • ‘They babble on about the supposed benefits of EU membership as if this referendum was about whether we should remain in the EU or withdraw from it.’
    • ‘Krista continued to babble on about how one of her uncles had gone through the same thing and it all turned out just fine.’
    • ‘Sherrie continued to babble on and it didn't take too long before Al realised too that he had been had.’
    • ‘I babble on about style and plot, without admitting I had to re-read the first chapter three times to remind myself who George was.’
    • ‘These people babble on about how the characters in the novel were more fully developed or how the original story line was more meaningful.’
    • ‘I pursed my lips together, willing myself not to babble on uselessly about what he'd been doing wrong.’
    • ‘Larry continued to babble on, but Guy stopped listening.’
    • ‘Stacey continued to babble on, totally naïve to the fact that she was causing so many eyes to focus on her.’
    • ‘It's a short one but I'm sure I'll babble on long enough to make it an actual entry.’
    • ‘She continued to babble on about their eternal bond as soul mates, and Robby knew he had to tell her the truth.’
    • ‘Only the twinkle in his eyes betrayed his thoughts as she continued to babble on.’
    • ‘Very few successful players babble on about how great they are.’
    • ‘Scientists always love to babble on about their work, but Jennifer couldn't afford to draw attention.’
    • ‘My mother continued to babble on but I paid no attention.’
    • ‘He continued to babble on about how it was all my fault, but I didn't pay much attention to him.’
    • ‘Elaine did not seem to hear Lynette, as she continued to babble on about Sir Lancelot.’
    prattle, rattle on, gabble, chatter, jabber, twitter, go on, run on, prate, ramble, burble, blather, blether, blither, maunder, drivel, patter, yap, jibber-jabber
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    1. 1.1[reporting verb]Utter something rapidly and incoherently.
      [with direct speech] ‘I gasped and stared and babbled, “Look at this!”’
      [with object] ‘he began to babble an apology’
      • ‘He babbled nonsense for about fifteen minutes then had an intense allergic reaction.’
      • ‘And then he looked into my eyes and babbled something, and pointed with his little fingers at my pipes.’
      • ‘‘Ben always leaves it in there on the windowsill,’ I babbled.’
      • ‘‘I can explain,’ he began babbling, and he stuttered constantly as he tried to explain something that I already knew.’
      • ‘Cheeks burning red she babbled apologies, quickly trying to clean the tunic and the table and the floor with her shirt.’
      • ‘I caught up to him and they babbled their little boy babble as I introduced myself to Tommy's mom.’
      • ‘No, you babble thank you 18 times, swoop under his outstretched arm and bang your forehead on the doorframe.’
      • ‘‘If you're planning something,’ I babbled out.’
      • ‘Cassia squeaked and scrambled to his feet, hugging the other boy and babbling apologies.’
      • ‘Didn't he babble the same gobbledygook a decade ago when he vied for the job?’
      • ‘So my mother babbled some more nonsensical apologies, paid the bill, tipped the waiter, gave me a quick hug, and went dashing off.’
      • ‘He was right; I did feel better after babbling my incoherent misgivings.’
      • ‘I babbled something - I was obviously clueless but well-meaning - and he was gracious, then he left.’
      • ‘Replacing her glasses and babbling apologies, Aimee scooped up her three sci-fi books and bumped into the girl again.’
      • ‘Parents who babble nonsense to babies may be helping them learn to speak, according to new research.’
      • ‘I babbled some nonsense about making an authentic Indian meal, regretting my purchase as she rang it up.’
      • ‘They all babbled their apologies to him, terrified.’
      • ‘She babbled out, ‘Is there… is there anything I can do for you m'lord Randel?’’
      • ‘He began to babble nonsense as they took him to the shore and then up to the main cabin where the nurse's office was.’
      • ‘The young man's brows furrowed, babbling something incoherently from under his father's firm hand.’
      delirious, raving, babbling, hysterical, irrational
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    2. 1.2Reveal something secret or confidential by talking impulsively or carelessly.
      ‘he babbled to another convict while he was in jail’
      [with object] ‘my father babbled out the truth’
      • ‘And I'll bet you babbled to the cops about how your brother didn't really mean to do anything wrong.’
      • ‘It was later in the night when his father finally arrived home as his youngest sister babbled out all to his father.’
      • ‘Had he, on their command, babbled out everything he knew?’
      • ‘When the Wisconsin politicians babbled to the Press, the Press rushed back to the senator for confirmation.’
      blurt out, blab, reveal, divulge, let slip, let out, give away, come out with
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    3. 1.3(of a stream) make the continuous murmuring sound of water flowing over stones.
      ‘a gently babbling brook’
      • ‘The brook beside the castle was babbling peacefully as a warm breeze swept over the meadow.’
      • ‘There were small huts built up in the trees and straight through the middle ran a babbling stream, with a waterfall at the far side of the clearing.’
      • ‘There were tall trees, wide-open plains, meandering streams, babbling brooks, rolling hills, and smart, intelligent people.’
      • ‘It's a picture postcard scene, by a babbling stream in Tasmania's midlands - the heart of that state's grassland country.’
      • ‘We never have, and almost certainly never will have, that idyllic outdoor meal on a checked rug by a babbling stream, because as they say, it's all in the mind.’
      • ‘In fact, I tend to favour country pubs with beer gardens next to babbling streams.’
      • ‘Ronan noticed Midori turning her head every so often as they walked, to admire a fine flower or to watch the babbling stream and the fish splashing in it.’
      • ‘These included waves, the song of whales, the wind through the trees, a babbling stream, rain and even the sound of grass rustling across the plains.’
      • ‘Cooling a bottle of white wine in a babbling brook at your picnic site is a lovely thought, but in reality it is not a sensible one.’
      • ‘After the Europeans came to this island, they wiped out countless babbling brooks, streams and rivers that flowed throughout the island down from the mountain.’
      • ‘Soon, the babbling water lulled him into a wakeful sleep.’
      • ‘Trees, distant mountains, slowly rolling hills of soft grass, flowers, somewhere behind her a river or brook babbling: it was the way she had always envisioned heaven.’
      • ‘On the soundproofed pastel wall, a huge TV screen showed a stream babbling over rocks.’
      • ‘Not far away was a clear, babbling stream of fresh water from the top of the mountain.’
      • ‘The idea of a little town nestling between two babbling brooks is a beautiful one and we owe it to ourselves to keep it as beautiful as possible.’
      • ‘They walked through some tall trees and ended up by a small babbling river, there was a small fort there, and a tent pitched outside.’
      • ‘The little bridges that cross the babbling stream at the entrance to his home brought joy into his heart every time he crossed it, as this was the place he loved.’
      • ‘Iona's laugh, a sound like a babbling brook on a summer afternoon, broke the spell.’
      • ‘And that sickly-sweet music with birds chirping, water babbling, and the rush of wheat fields in the wind seemed brain numbing.’
      • ‘It was like even the river below us had stopped babbling.’
      burble, murmur, gurgle, purl, tinkle
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  • 1[in singular] The sound of people talking quickly and in a way that is difficult or impossible to understand.

    ‘a babble of protest’
    • ‘This was what the crowd had come for and every time Caucau received the ball after that there was a babble of anticipation.’
    • ‘Sitting outside the bar there is a light babble of a foreign tongue trilling off the tongues of groups of people enjoying leisurely drinks.’
    • ‘This mimics the tone of real speech but sounds like the incomprehensible babble of those claymation shows on the ABC in the 1980s.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When I went down to visit her we spoke in the babble that sounded to other people like a language.’
    • ‘Instead, American viewers will have to strain to make out whole words from the constant babble of wild sound and West Indian accents.’
    • ‘There was a rising babble of ‘ews’, and other sounds of sympathy and disgust.’
    • ‘From an uncertain corner in another part of the pub, there was a babble of bedlam.’
    • ‘Just the babble of the 24-hour television newscasters.’
    • ‘In the background he could hear the voices of the passengers asking the same question in a babble of noise.’
    • ‘This is the babble of many tongues as they are simultaneously translated in the glass towers in the stone city.’
    • ‘Then a babble of talk and tension-relieving laughter breaks out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you set a tape recorder running at a noisy party you would most likely hear something resembling a confused babble.’
    • ‘I banged the book shut and silenced the babble of my inner teachers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fay ably expresses the feelings of many as they try to decipher the babble of words coming from the religious sector following the tsunami.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That way, you'll have some idea of where I'm going with all my babble.’
      • ‘She's makes my nonstop babble look like child's play.’
      • ‘Make you dream about him, his movements, his gregarious nature, his constant babble.’
      • ‘She stopped her excited babble and grabbed my wrist, dragging me off to math class.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She had continued her endless babble when I realised that she was looking at me some what expectantly.’
      • ‘Although she was odd, silently I knew I enjoyed her insensible babble.’
      • ‘As you can tell from my inane babble above, not much has been going on round these parts lately.’
      • ‘Lilatte shoved the pillow over her head, trying to drown out Honey's endless babble.’
      • ‘He had merely stood there, tall and silent, piercing her with his incessant gaze, until her words had died to a senseless babble.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Um, well if I'm decipher that pile of babble correctly… are you offering me a job?’
      • ‘Some said maybe he was Swedish, but his incomprehensible babble was little help in discovering his identity.’
      • ‘She does seem very quick to understand my situation from the tearful babble which comes out of me when I see her.’
      • ‘He gets in touch with his Indian heritage and a wisdom drenched phrase bubbles through his drunken 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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      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. 1.2The continuous murmuring sound of water flowing over stones in a stream.
      ‘the babble of a brook’
      • ‘In the silence of the grove, she heard the pleasant babble of the stream, except that it was no longer a quiet sloshing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In plants, a babble of water and small molecules flows through the plasmodesmata between cells.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3Background 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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Middle English: from Middle Low German babbelen, or an independent English formation, as a frequentative based on the repeated syllable ba, typical of a child's early speech.