tr.v. gar·bled, gar·bling, gar·bles
1. To mix up or distort to such an extent as to make misleading or incomprehensible: The report garbled all the historical facts.
2. To scramble (a signal or message), as by erroneous encoding or faulty transmission.
3. Archaic To sort out; cull.
The act or an instance of garbling: a garble of nonsense syllables.
[Middle English garbelen, to inspect and remove refuse from spices, from Anglo-Norman garbeler, to sift, and from Medieval Latin garbellāre, both from Arabic ġarbala, to select, from ġirbāl, sieve, from Late Latin crībellum, diminutive of Latin crībrum; see krei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
garbler (-blər) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.