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First attested mid-16th century. Origin obscure. Possibly from *gibber, of onomatopoeic origin imitating to the sound of chatter, possibly from or influenced by jabber, +‎ -ish denoting the name of a language (compare Danish, Finnish, Spanish, Swedish, etc.). The verb gibber, first attested circa 1600, is usually regarded as a back-formation from gibberish.


  • IPA(key): /ˈd͡ʒɪb.ə.ɹɪʃ/
  • (file)


gibberish (usually uncountable, plural gibberishes)

  1. Speech or writing that is unintelligible, incoherent or meaningless.
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, chapter 12, in The Scarlet Letter, a Romance, Boston, Mass.: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, OCLC 223202227:
      Such gibberish as children may be heard amusing themselves with.
    • 1887, H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure[1]:
      Could it be, after all, that the whole story was true, and the writing on the sherd was not a forgery, or the invention of some crack-brained, long-forgotten individual? And if so, could it be that Leo was the man that She was waiting for - the dead man who was to be born again! Impossible! The whole thing was gibberish! Who ever heard of a man being born again?
  2. Needlessly obscure or overly technical language.
  3. (uncountable) A language game, comparable to pig Latin, in which one inserts a nonsense syllable before the first vowel in each syllable of a word.



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See also[edit]


gibberish (comparative more gibberish, superlative most gibberish)

  1. unintelligible, incoherent or meaningless