From Middle English babelen, from Old English *bæblian, also wæflian (“to talk foolishly”), from Proto-Germanic *babalōną (“to chatter”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰa-bʰa-, *baba- (“to talk vaguely, mumble”). Cognate with Old Frisian babbelje (“to babble”), Old Norse babbla (“to babble”) (Swedish babbla), Middle Low German babbelen (“to babble”), Dutch babbelen (“to babble”), German pappeln and babbeln (“to babble”).
- Idle talk; senseless prattle; gabble; twaddle.
- 1634, John Milton, Comus, a Mask, line 823:
- "This is mere moral babble."
- Inarticulate speech; constant or confused murmur.
- The babble of our young children. - Darwin.
- A sound like that of water gently flowing around obstructions.
- The babble of the stream. - Alfred Tennyson.
- See also Wikisaurus:chatter
- (intransitive) To utter words indistinctly or unintelligibly; to utter inarticulate sounds; as, a child babbles.
- (intransitive) To talk incoherently; to utter unmeaning words.
- (intransitive) To talk much; to chatter; to prate.
- (intransitive) To make a continuous murmuring noise, as shallow water running over stones.
- In every babbling brook he finds a friend. - William Wordsworth.
- Hounds are said to babble, or to be babbling, when they are too noisy after having found a good scent.
- (transitive) To utter in an indistinct or incoherent way; to repeat, as words, in a childish way without understanding.
- These words he used to babble in all companies. - John Arbuthnot.
- (transitive) To disclose by too free talk, as a secret.