v. bab·bled, bab·bling, bab·bles
1. To utter a meaningless confusion of words or sounds: Babies babble before they can talk.
2. To talk foolishly or idly; chatter: "As I babbled on ... I did not notice that my parents, in the front seat, had fallen completely silent" (Oliver Sacks).
3. To make a continuous low, murmuring sound, as flowing water.
1. To utter rapidly and indistinctly: "Toward the end he babbled old stories, randomly cobbled together" (Julia Whitty).
2. To blurt out impulsively; disclose without careful consideration.
1. Inarticulate or meaningless talk or sounds.
2. Idle or foolish talk; chatter.
3. A continuous low, murmuring sound, as of flowing water.
[Middle English babelen.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.