From Middle English momelen, a frequentative of mum (sense 3) (“silent”). Compare German mümmeln, Middle Dutch mommelen and Dutch mompelen.
mumble (third-person singular simple present mumbles, present participle mumbling, simple past and past participle mumbled)
- (transitive, intransitive) To speak unintelligibly or inaudibly; to fail to articulate.
Please try not to mumble so I can hear you better.
c. 1591–1595 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene v]:
Peace, you mumbling fool.
1680, Thomas Otway, The Orphan:
A wrinkled hag, with age grown double, / Picking dry sticks, and mumbling to herself.
- To chew something gently with closed lips.
to speak unintelligibly
- Bikol Central: kimutkimot
- Bulgarian: мънкам (bg) (mǎnkam), фъфля (bg) (fǎflja)
- Mandarin: 咕噥／咕哝 (zh) (gūnong)
- Czech: mumlat
- Danish: mumle (da)
- Dutch: mompelen (nl)
- Faroese: mutla, mølma
- Finnish: mumista (fi), mutista (fi), mongertaa (fi)
- French: marmonner (fr)
- German: murmeln (de), nuscheln (de)
- Hungarian: motyog (hu)
- Icelandic: muldra (is)
- Indonesian: bergumam (id)
- Italian: biascicare (it), mugugnare (it), farfugliare (it), balbettare (it), borbottare (it)
- Japanese: 呟く (ja) (つぶやく, tsubuyaku), 囁く (ja) (ささやく, sasayaku)
- Macedonian: мумла (mumla)
- Maori: whakameme, pararāwaha, whakahāhā
- Norwegian: mumle (no)
- Polish: mamrotać (pl)
- Portuguese: murmurar (pt)
- Russian: бормота́ть (ru) impf (bormotátʹ), пробормота́ть (ru) pf (probormotátʹ), мя́млить (ru) impf (mjámlitʹ), промя́млить (ru) pf (promjámlitʹ)
- Scottish Gaelic: brunndail
- Spanish: mascullar (es), mascujar (es), susurrar (es)
- Swedish: mumla (sv)
- Ukrainian: ми́мрити impf (mýmryty)
- Vietnamese: lí nhí (vi)
to chew something gently with closed lips
mumble (plural mumbles)
- A quiet or unintelligible vocalization; a low tone of voice.
All I could hear was a mumble from the next room.
He spoke in a barely comprehensible mumble.