from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To utter indistinctly by lowering the voice or partially closing the mouth.
  • intransitive verb To chew slowly or ineffectively without or as if without teeth.
  • intransitive verb To speak words indistinctly, as by lowering the voice or partially closing the mouth.
  • intransitive verb To chew food slowly or ineffectively, as if with the gums.
  • noun A low indistinct sound or utterance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To speak with the vocal organs partly closed, so as to render the sounds inarticulate and imperfect; speak in low tones, hesitatingly, or deprecatingly.
  • To chew or bite softly or with the gums; work food with the gums on account of lack or defectiveness of teeth.
  • To utter in a low inarticulate voice.
  • To chew gently; work (food) by rubbing it with the gums on account of lack of teeth.
  • To cover up or hide, as if by uttering in a mumbling, unintelligible fashion; say over inarticulately: with up.
  • noun A low, indistinct utterance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To speak with the lips partly closed, so as to render the sounds inarticulate and imperfect; to utter words in a grumbling indistinct manner, indicating discontent or displeasure; to mutter.
  • transitive verb To chew something gently with closed lips.
  • transitive verb To utter with a low, inarticulate voice.
  • transitive verb To chew or bite gently, as one without teeth.
  • transitive verb To suppress, or utter imperfectly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, intransitive To speak unintelligibly or inaudibly; to fail to articulate.
  • noun A quiet or unintelligible vocalization.
  • noun A low tone of voice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb talk indistinctly; usually in a low voice
  • verb grind with the gums; chew without teeth and with great difficulty
  • noun a soft indistinct utterance


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English momelen, from Middle Dutch mommelen.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word mumble.


  • All I hear is "aww .... it's okay. * mumble mumble*" KayLee is slurring her words.

    vodka-n-milk Diary Entry vodka-n-milk 2007

  • The highlights included not asking any medically relevant questions before pronouncing I had "* mumble mumble*, but you don't need to know that." gee doc who else should know?

    Popular Posts Across MetaFilter 2010

  • In fact, it works out to be about * mumble ... mumble* right around 8% of the billions of computer users. dowell100 October 3, 2009 4: 37 PM PDT - most clicked links 2009

  • * mumble mumble* years, however long it takes me to cram thirty-six credits into my life.

    le petit hiboux | owls gone wild 2009

  • Richard: * mumble mumble* you’re still unpublished * mumble mumble* I’m with Mr. Torch * mumble mumble*

    natinski Diary Entry natinski 2006

  • I will however admit to occasionally, when I feel particularly embarrassed for my unabashed public monologues, pretending to be singing instead, like "* mumble mumble* I really should complete my masterplan for world domination today

    Popular Posts Across MetaFilter 2009

  • Facebook have foundered as millions "mumble" - the translation of tweet - and give mini-blogging a distinctly Japanese flavor.

    Newsvine - Get Smarter Here 2010

  • I just has to go and *mumblemumble importantfonecall mumble*

    To her surprise, Bella - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger? 2010

  • They also retained Japanese words that were done in different fonts or calligraphy as a part of the background of the panels "sizzle" "fwump" "ouch" "mumble"--they just wrote the English translation in small letters next to it.

    How to kill 15 minutes of your lunch hour. bradamant 2005

  • All I caught of his mumble was a vague -- "quite correct," than which nothing could have been more egregiously false at bottom -- to my view, at least.

    'Twixt Land and Sea Joseph Conrad 1890

  • To test whether the layout itself helped users find the page elements, all text on the page was "greeked" - that is, all words were replaced with unintelligible nonsense (sometimes called mumble text ).

    Testing Whether Web Page Templates are Helpful Bruce Tognazzini 2020


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Sophy, seeing him disconcerted, interposed in his behalf, and chid her cousin for having practised such unnecessary affectation; upon which, Emilia, softened into compliance, held out her finger as a signal of her condescension. Peregrine put on the ring with great eagerness, and mumbled her soft white hand in an ecstasy which would not allow him to confine his embraces to that limb, but urged him to seize her by the waist, and snatch a delicious kiss from her love-pouting lips..."

    — Smollet, Peregrine Pickle

    January 20, 2022