verb (used without object), mumbled, mumbling.
to speak in a low indistinct manner, almost to an unintelligible extent; mutter.
to chew ineffectively, as from loss of teeth: to mumble on a crust.
verb (used with object), mumbled, mumbling.
to say or utter indistinctly, as with partly closed lips: He mumbled something about expenses.
to chew, or try to eat, with difficulty, as from loss of teeth.
a low, indistinct utterance or sound.

1275–1325; Middle English momelen, equivalent to mom(me) mum1 + -elen -le; compare Dutch mommelen, German mummeln

mumbler, noun
mumblingly, adverb
half-mumbled, adjective
unmumbled, adjective
unmumbling, adjective

1, 3. See murmur.

1. articulate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mumble (ˈmʌmbəl)
1.  to utter indistinctly, as with the mouth partly closed; mutter
2.  rare to chew (food) ineffectually or with difficulty
3.  an indistinct or low utterance or sound
[C14 momelen, from mum²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 14c., momelen, "to eat in a slow, ineffective manner," probably frequentative of interjection mum. The -b- is excrescent. Meaning "to speak indistinctly" is from mid-14c. The noun is first attested 1902. Related: Mumbled; mumbling.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary


1. Said when the correct response is too complicated to enunciate, or the speaker has not thought it out. Often prefaces a longer answer, or indicates a general reluctance to get into a long discussion. "Don't you think that we could improve LISP performance by using a hybrid reference-count transaction garbage collector, if the cache is big enough and there are some extra cache bits for the microcode to use?" "Well, mumble ... I'll have to think about it."
2. [MIT] Expression of not-quite-articulated agreement, often used as an informal vote of consensus in a meeting: "So, shall we dike out the COBOL emulation?" "Mumble!"
3. Sometimes used as an expression of disagreement (distinguished from sense 2 by tone of voice and other cues). "I think we should buy a VAX." "Mumble!" Common variant: `mumble frotz' (see frotz; interestingly, one does not say `mumble frobnitz' even though `frotz' is short for `frobnitz').
4. Yet another metasyntactic variable, like foo.
5. When used as a question ("Mumble?") means "I didn't understand you".
6. Sometimes used in `public' contexts on-line as a placefiller for things one is barred from giving details about. For example, a poster with pre-released hardware in his machine might say "Yup, my machine now has an extra 16M of memory, thanks to the card I'm testing for Mumbleco."
7. A conversational wild card used to designate something one doesn't want to bother spelling out, but which can be glarked from context. Compare blurgle.
8. [XEROX PARC] A colloquialism used to suggest that further discussion would be fruitless.
Example sentences
Ask a physicist what emergent properties are and how does he propose to measure
  them and he'll walk off mumbling to himself.
Mumbling in faculty meetings is not normal behavior, and it cannot be explained
  by the quirks of faculty.
Sometimes the mumbling and grumbling subsides until it is barely audible.
The other day, one of these mumbling individuals was called to give evidence in
  a case touching the efficiency of a machine.
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