Definition of babble in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbabəl/


[no object]
1Talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way: he would babble on in his gringo Spanish
More example sentences
  • My mother continued to babble on but I paid no attention.
  • Stacey continued to babble on, totally naïve to the fact that she was causing so many eyes to focus on her.
  • Krista continued to babble on about how one of her uncles had gone through the same thing and it all turned out just fine.
prattle, rattle on, chatter, jabber, twitter, go on, run on, prate, ramble, burble, blather
informal gab, yap, yak, yabber, yatter, yammer, blabber, jaw, gas, shoot one's mouth off, run off at the mouth, bloviate
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
More example sentences
  • The young man's brows furrowed, babbling something incoherently from under his father's firm hand.
  • He was right; I did feel better after babbling my incoherent misgivings.
  • They all babbled their apologies to him, terrified.
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
More example sentences
  • Had he, on their command, babbled out everything he knew?
  • It was later in the night when his father finally arrived home as his youngest sister babbled out all to his father.
  • When the Wisconsin politicians babbled to the Press, the Press rushed back to the senator for confirmation.
1.3 (usually as adjective babbling) (Of a stream) make the continuous murmuring sound of water flowing over stones: a gently babbling brook
More example sentences
  • Not far away was a clear, babbling stream of fresh water from the top of the mountain.
  • On the soundproofed pastel wall, a huge TV screen showed a stream babbling over rocks.
  • 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.
burble, murmur, gurgle, tinkle
literary plash


[in singular]
1The sound of people talking quickly and in a way that is difficult or impossible to understand: a babble of protest
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • From an uncertain corner in another part of the pub, there was a babble of bedlam.
  • 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.
1.1Foolish, excited, or confused talk: her soft voice stopped his babble
More example sentences
  • She stopped her excited babble and grabbed my wrist, dragging me off to math class.
  • 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.
prattle, chatter, jabber, prating, rambling, blather
informal gab, yabbering, yatter
1.2The continuous murmuring sound of water flowing over stones in a stream: the babble of a brook
More example sentences
  • The sounds coming from the workshops combine with the babble of the stream to create an authentic atmosphere of the settlement of old.
  • In the silence of the grove, she heard the pleasant babble of the stream, except that it was no longer a quiet sloshing.
  • In plants, a babble of water and small molecules flows through the plasmodesmata between cells.
1.3Background disturbance caused by interference from conversations on other telephone lines.
Example sentences
  • To test this, we added background babble (from the SPIN-R test) and replicated the experiment with another group of younger listeners.
  • The resulting babble of overlapping signals can confuse the receiver.


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.

  • baby from Late Middle English:

    Both baby and babe probably come from the way that the sound ba is repeated by very young children. Babble (Middle English) probably came from the same source, along with words such as mama (mid 16th century) and papa (late 17th century). Similar forms are found in many different languages. A person's lover or spouse has been their baby since the middle of the 19th century. The sense ‘someone's creation or special concern’ dates from later in that century—in 1890 artificial silk was referred to as its inventor's ‘new-born baby’. The proverb don't throw the baby out with the bathwater is from German. The first known appearance in English is from the Scottish historian and political philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), who wrote in 1853 that ‘The Germans say, “You must empty out the bathing-tub, but not the baby along with it”.’ Babe originally just meant ‘child’, and only later became restricted to a child too young to walk. Inexperienced people in a situation calling for experience are babes in the wood, from characters in an old ballad The Children in the Wood, whose wicked uncle wanted to steal their inheritance and abandoned them in a wood. The proverbial phrase out of the mouths of babes is used when a precocious child says something unexpectedly appropriate. It has biblical origins, being found in Psalms and the Gospel of Matthew. A babe today is generally an attractive young person. The first babes were men. In the 1870s the youngest member of a class of US military cadets was called the babe, rather like ‘the baby of the family’. The term was then used as a friendly form of address between men before it came to mean a sexy girl. See also bimbo

Words that rhyme with babble

bedabble, dabble, drabble, gabble, grabble, rabble, scrabble

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: bab·ble

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