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From Middle Dutch brabbelen (to quarrel, jabber). Akin to babble. Compare German brabbeln (to talk confusedly).


brabble (third-person singular simple present brabbles, present participle brabbling, simple past and past participle brabbled)

  1. (obsolete) To clamour; to contest noisily.
    • 1598, John Stow, Survey of London, London: J.M. Dent, 1912, p. 362,[1]
      Then next is the Clinke, a gaol or prison for the trespassers in those parts; namely, in old time, for such as should brabble, frey, or break the peace on the said bank, or in the brothel houses, they were by the inhabitants thereabout apprehended and committed to this gaol, where they were straitly imprisoned.
    • 1640, George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum; or, Outlandish Proverbs, Sentences, etc., in The Remains of that Sweet Singer of the Temple George Herbert, London: Pickering, 1841, p. 141,[2]
      Brabbling curs never want sore ears.
    • 1883, Edward Maunde Thompson, Preface to Diary of Richard Cocks, cape-merchant in the English factory in Japan, 1615-1622, London: Hakluyt Society, p. xxxvi,[3]
      And it was not only with the English that the Dutch sailors quarrelled. They were drunken and riotous and “brabbled” in the streets, till at last the long-suffering Japanese lost patience and seizing two of them summarily cut off their heads.
  2. To babble (of a stream or other watercourse).
    • 1902, Mary Johnston, Audrey, New York: Grosset and Dunlap, Chapter 9, p. 121,[4]
      Farther on, when they came to a miniature glen between the semblance of two hills, down which, in mockery of a torrent, brabbled a slim brown stream, MacLean stood still []
    • 1921, Reginald Farrer, The Rainbow Bridge, London: E. Arnold & Co., Chapter 10, p. 181,[5]
      Down in the middle, among mossy boulders, the beck brabbled through golden sheets of Draba []


brabble (plural brabbles)

  1. (obsolete) A brawl; a noisy contest; a wrangle.

Derived terms[edit]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for brabble in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)