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From Middle English bable, babel, babull, babulle, from Old French babel, baubel (trinket, child's toy), most likely a reduplication of bel, ultimately from Latin bellus (pretty).



bauble (plural baubles)

  1. A cheap showy ornament or piece of jewellery; a gewgaw.
    • 1818, [Mary Shelley], chapter 8, in Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: [] [Macdonald and Son] for Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, & Jones, →OCLC:
      [] as to the bauble on which the chief proof rests, if she had earnestly desired it, I should have willingly given it to her, so much do I esteem and value her.
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 6, in The History of Pendennis. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
      Have none before or after him staked all their treasure of life, as a savage does his land and possessions against a draught of the fair-skins’ fire-water, or a couple of bauble eyes?
    • 1977, Jimmy Webb (lyrics and music), “Highwayman”:
      Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade.
  2. (figurative, by extension) Anything trivial and worthless.
    • 1841, The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist, page 186:
      His hind quarters were likewise short, and not racinglike, and taken as a specimen of the horse, he was a mere bauble when looked at by the side of an English race-horse, much less a hunter.
  3. A small shiny spherical decoration, commonly put on Christmas trees.
  4. A club or sceptre carried by a jester.


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