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  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɹɪv.əl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: driv‧el
  • Rhymes: -ɪvəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English drivelen, drevelen, from Old English dreflian (to drivel, slobber, slaver), from Proto-Germanic *drablijaną, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰerebʰ- (cloudy, turbid; yeast).


drivel (countable and uncountable, plural drivels)

  1. Nonsense; senseless talk.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:nonsense
    • 1879, Henry James, chapter XVII, in Confidence, London: Chatto & Windus:
      “You pay too much attention to such insipid drivel in even mentioning it.”
    • 1913, Arthur Conan Doyle, “(please specify the page)”, in The Poison Belt [], London; New York, N.Y.: Hodder and Stoughton, →OCLC:
      But what drivel I am writing! It is just an attempt to pass the weary time.
    • 2020 August 26, Nigel Harris, “Comment Special: Catastrophe at Carmont”, in Rail, page 4:
      A ray of light amid all this nonsense was Gwyn Topham's piece in the Guardian, which was timely, measured, accurate and of appropriate tone. That this single report stood out so clearly as an exemplar is a scathing comment in itself on the volumes of drivel surrounding it.
  2. (archaic) Saliva, drool.
  3. (obsolete) A fool; an idiot.


drivel (third-person singular simple present drivels, present participle (US) driveling or drivelling, simple past and past participle (US) driveled or drivelled)

  1. To talk nonsense; to talk senselessly; to drool.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:nonsense
  2. (archaic, intransitive) To have saliva drip from the mouth.
    Synonym: drool
  3. To be weak or foolish; to dote.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

Compare Old Dutch drevel (scullion).


drivel (plural drivels)

  1. (obsolete) A servant; a drudge.

Etymology 3[edit]

Perhaps a blend of drive and dribble.


drivel (third-person singular simple present drivels, present participle driveling, simple past and past participle driveled)

  1. To move or travel slowly.
    • 1865 October 7, The Mercury, Hobart, page 2:
      But that is a state of things, which must in time work its own cure. We cannot always go dribbling and drivelling along, government and people alike being the scoff of all onlookers.
    • 1872 October 29, The Newcastle Chronicle, NSW, page 4:
      There was a good deal of bustle and life at the inn; but three or four inebriates drivelling about the premises were 'suffering a recovery,' from the excitement of the previous night's entertainment.
    • 1914 May 30, The Darling Downs Gazette, Qld, page 2:
      Walter was as silly as most men are when in love. He went drivelling off in pursuit of her "dear little work-worn hands"[.]
    • 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, 1st Australian edition, Sydney, N.S.W.: Ure Smith, published 1962, →OCLC, page 122:
      Drivelling back to the shanty at midday presented him with a distracting gamble over lunch.
    • 1939 September 15, The Daily Examiner, Grafton, NSW, page 5:
      "I am amazed to think we are in the second week of war and this country is still drivelling along with a small volunteer force," he added.
  2. To use up or to be used up.
    • 1858 August 17, The Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Beechworth, Vic, page 2:
      Instead of drivelling away the precious initiative season of life in the vain labour of teaching tuneable voices to sing[.]
    • 1872 August 31, The Mercury, Hobart, page 2:
      It is for the country to say whether we are to keep on in this backward course, whether we are to go on getting deeper and deeper into debt, whether we are to have increased taxation year after year. The bone and sinew of the land is drivelling away.