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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bletheren, bloderen, from Old Norse blaðra (to speak inarticulately, talk nonsense). Cognate with Scots blether, bladder, bledder (to blather), dialectal German bladdern (to talk nonsense, blather), Norwegian bladra (to babble, speak imperfectly), Icelandic blaðra (to twaddle).

Alternative forms[edit]

  • blether (Northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland)


  • (UK) IPA(key): /blæðə(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æðə(r)


blather (third-person singular simple present blathers, present participle blathering, simple past and past participle blathered)

  1. (intransitive, derogatory) To talk rapidly without making much sense.
  2. (transitive, derogatory) To say (something foolish or nonsensical); to say (something) in a foolish or overly verbose way.
    • 1929, Eugene O’Neill, Dynamo, New York, N.Y.: Liveright, Act I, scene i, page 31:[2]
      Then, just before the wedding, the old man feels he’s honor bound to tell his future son-in-law the secret of his past; so the damned idiot blathers the whole story of his killing the man and breaking jail!
    • 1974, Robert Pirsig, chapter 18, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, New York, N.Y.: William Morrow, part 3, page 214:[3]
      [] the church attitude has never been that a teacher should be allowed to blather anything that comes into his head without any accountability at all.
Derived terms[edit]


blather (uncountable)

  1. (derogatory) Nonsensical or foolish talk.
    • 1897, G. A. Henty, With Moore at Corunna, New York: Scribner, Chapter 1, p. 16,[4]
      That is the worst of being in an Irish regiment, nothing can be done widout ever so much blather;
    • 1922, Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, Chapter 23, p. 265,[5]
      Will you cease your blather of mutiny and treason and courts-martial?
    • 1995, Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, Part 5, p. 280,[6]
      With years of proofreading under my belt, I knew exactly the blather and bluster favoured by professional politicians.

Etymology 2[edit]


blather (plural blathers)

  1. Obsolete form of bladder.
    • 1596, Charles Fitzgeoffrey, Sir Francis Drake His Honorable Lifes Commendation, and His Tragicall Deathes Lamentation, Oxford: Joseph Barnes,[7]
      [] on Vlisses Circe did bestowe
      A blather, where the windes imboweld were,