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mumble

[muhm-buh l] /ˈmʌm bəl/
verb (used without object), mumbled, mumbling.
1.
to speak in a low indistinct manner, almost to an unintelligible extent; mutter.
2.
to chew ineffectively, as from loss of teeth:
to mumble on a crust.
verb (used with object), mumbled, mumbling.
3.
to say or utter indistinctly, as with partly closed lips:
He mumbled something about expenses.
4.
to chew, or try to eat, with difficulty, as from loss of teeth.
noun
5.
a low, indistinct utterance or sound.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English momelen, equivalent to mom(me) mum1 + -elen -le; compare Dutch mommelen, German mummeln
Related forms
mumbler, noun
mumblingly, adverb
half-mumbled, adjective
unmumbled, adjective
unmumbling, adjective
Synonyms
1, 3. See murmur.
Antonyms
1. articulate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mumbling
  • 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.
  • And that is what the general population sees: homeless schizophrenics mumbling in alleys.
  • Consider these mumbling out loud, ruminations to ponder.
  • Sometimes too relaxed: a slouching, mumbling bartender undermines the ambience of his domain.
  • But then yet another scene featured a long, mumbling monologue to a horse.
  • Instead he returns to the parental loft and, mumbling something about the flight, crawls into his old lair.
  • She chased rabbits in her sleep, stirring and mumbling.
British Dictionary definitions for mumbling

mumble

/ˈmʌmbəl/
verb
1.
to utter indistinctly, as with the mouth partly closed; mutter
2.
(rare) to chew (food) ineffectually or with difficulty
noun
3.
an indistinct or low utterance or sound
Derived Forms
mumbler, noun
mumbling, adjective
mumblingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14 momelen, from mum²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mumbling

mumble

v.

early 14c., momelen, "to eat in a slow, ineffective manner" (perhaps "to talk with one's mouth full"), probably frequentative of interjection mum. The -b- is excrescent. Meaning "to speak indistinctly" is from mid-14c. Related: Mumbled; mumbling.

n.

1902, from mumble (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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