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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 of mumble
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mumbling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Ryan sat down, mumbling to himself that that sort of sarcasm didn't go with him; he was a workman, not an artist.

    The Music Master Charles Klein
  • I liked the sound of this and so kept on mumbling "All dead, all dead."

    City of Endless Night Milo Hastings
  • mumbling it in your teeth, you wretch, as if you were a horse!

    Man and Wife Wilkie Collins
  • "Death amongst friends is but a festival," he quoted, mumbling in his moustache.

    The Rescue Joseph Conrad
  • He trudges slowly away, mumbling: "You loafers, when I catch you here again, don't you dare talk so loud."

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
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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