Reduplication of scamble (“to move about pushing and jostling, struggle for place or possession, scramble; to mangle”). The term was popularized by William Shakespeare’s use of it in the play Henry IV, Part 1 (c. 1597): see the quotation.
- (Received Pronunciation, General American) IPA(key): /ˈskɪmb(ə)lˌskæmb(ə)l/
- Hyphenation: skim‧ble-skam‧ble
skimble-skamble (not comparable)
- Confused, chaotic, disorderly, senseless.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:absurd
- c. 1597, [William Shakespeare], The History of Henrie the Fovrth; […], quarto edition, London: Printed by P[eter] S[hort] for Andrew Wise, […], published 1598, OCLC 932916628, [Act III, scene i]:
- [S]ometime he angers me / With telling me of the Mouldwarp and the Ant, / Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies, / And of a Dragon and a finles fiſh, / A clipwingd Griffin and a molten rauen, / A couching Leon and a ramping Cat, / And ſuch a deale of skimble ſcamble ſtuffe / As puts me from my faith.
- 1984 September 24, David Denby, “Movies: Mozartmania [review of Amadeus]”, in New York, volume 17, number 38, New York, N.Y.: News Group Publications, ISSN 0028-7369, OCLC 1002002954, page 93, column 1:
- Gibberish, mumbo-jumbo, nonsense.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:nonsense
- 1818 June 1, Lord Byron; Thomas Moore, “Letter CCCXVII. To Mr Moore.”, in Letters and Journals of Lord Byron: […], volume II, Paris: Published by A[nthony] and W[illiam] Galignani, […], published 1830, OCLC 759621978, page 287, column 1:
- Did you read his skimble-skamble about * * being at the head of his own profession, in the eyes of those who followed it?
- 1997 September 4, Sopon Onkgara, “One man, one draft, lots of gibberish”, in The Nation, Bangkok: Nation Pub. Group, OCLC 24621314, page A4, column 3:
- None of the questions directed at Chavalit [Yongchaiyudh] were serious enough to make him think before he delivered his beat-around-the-bush response. He put the nation in deep shame – again – with his unenlightened skimble-skamble.