Definition of mumble in US English:

mumble

verb

  • 1reporting verb Say something indistinctly and quietly, making it difficult for others to hear.

    with object ‘he mumbled something she didn't catch’
    with direct speech ‘“Sorry,” she mumbled’
    • ‘Brandon mumbled an inaudible reply before seating himself at the breakfast bar.’
    • ‘I could hear him mumbling something and then there was silence.’
    • ‘I tried to see what was going on but I couldn't focus all I saw was blurry figures and all I could hear was mumbling.’
    • ‘While asleep, victims are often heard mumbling, ‘It's not fair, it's not fair.’’
    • ‘Lisa mumbled a reply as she chewed on a pen, and William went on with what he wanted.’
    • ‘Embarrassed, all he could manage was mumble an incoherent reply.’
    • ‘She heard him mumble something indistinct, and he tried to spit at her, but his aim left a lot to be desired.’
    • ‘The man began mumbling quietly under his breath.’
    • ‘When I hear people mumbling away about what a terrible world this is to bring children into, I want to spit.’
    • ‘Though, once the lights were out, before I fell asleep, all I could hear was Maggie mumbling to herself and rolling around in bed so I just assumed she was asleep.’
    • ‘He kept mumbling indistinctly to himself… I couldn't understand most of it.’
    • ‘If you can't hum quietly, then mumble loudly these wallopy words under your breath.’
    • ‘Curious onlookers soon went back to their work, mumbling quietly to themselves.’
    • ‘From the bunk room, they heard Joey mumbling in his sleep.’
    • ‘They mumbled quietly to each other for the rest of the journey.’
    • ‘So don't be surprised if you hear me mumble: ‘Would you like fries with that?’’
    • ‘I have my speaker set on high - I can hear mumbling, but I cannot discern or understand what it is he is saying, at all.’
    • ‘I heard Katie and Juliette mumbling to each other about remembering the street, and I saw Tommy eyeing everyone and everything.’
    • ‘I mumble a noncommittal reply and decide not to mention the TV series I present.’
    • ‘There was no easy answer, and I mumbled some rubbish about looking for a last-minute bargain.’
    mutter, murmur, speak indistinctly, talk under one's breath, speak sotto voce, talk to oneself
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  • 2with object Bite or chew with toothless gums or eat without making much use of the teeth.

noun

  • usually in singular A quiet and indistinct utterance.

    ‘Rosie had replied in a mumble’
    • ‘His speech is a mumble, his face immobile, his gait unsteady.’
    • ‘As I couldn't quite find the words to respond to that, I decided a mumble and a nod of the head would suffice.’
    • ‘They were answered by a faint mumble from beside him.’
    • ‘Jeff just shook his bald head and looked down with a mumble.’
    • ‘Her voice was a mere mumble as she answered back.’
    • ‘‘I love him,’ Lily repeated, though her voice was little more than a mumble.’
    • ‘There's a mumble of gibberish, broken words, broken thoughts, and I realize that my brother can't talk anymore.’
    • ‘There was an uncertain mumble from the group in general. ‘All right then.’’
    • ‘It came out as a mumble with all the stuffed bread in his mouth.’
    • ‘His voice drops to a conspiratorial mumble: ‘Every month, they send us a tape we have to play.’’
    • ‘A couple of kids chimed in and their voices were lost in a huge mumble of slurred vowels and consonances in my scrambled brain.’
    • ‘His speech is something between a muffle and a mumble, a perpetual whisper beneath the breath.’
    • ‘He prefers to sing in a blurry mumble, letting his meanings emerge in the scuffed and yearning tone of his voice as much as in the words themselves.’
    • ‘She let her voice go right down to a mumble at the end and looked up to meet his sympathetic brown eyes.’
    • ‘Everything starts to come out as an eyes-to-the-desk mumble.’
    • ‘But all that came out was a mumble, and then she coughed.’
    • ‘His voice dropped to a mumble, his grip on my wrist loosened and he stopped struggling so much.’
    • ‘His voice trailed off into an absorbed mumble as he tried to jot everything down.’
    • ‘Soren's voice came out in more of a mumble than anything else.’
    • ‘It looks now as though I will have to, as no one wants a teacher who barely achieves an incomprehensible mumble, even if it could be in any one of five languages.’
    murmur, mutter, mumble, low voice, hushed tone, undertone
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Origin

Middle English: frequentative of mum.

Pronunciation

mumble

/ˈməmbəl//ˈməmbəl/