Definitions

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

  • n. Unintelligible or incomprehensible language; gibberish.
  • n. Language or ritualistic activity intended to confuse.
  • n. A complicated or obscure ritual.
  • n. An object believed to have supernatural powers; a fetish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A deity or other supernatural being said to have been worshipped by certain West African peoples; an idol.
  • n. Any object of superstition; religious words and/or actions which are seen as superstitious or fraudulent.
  • n. Any confusing or meaningless speech; nonsense, gibberish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Among the Mandingos of the western Sudan, a bugbear by means of which the women are terrified and disciplined by societies of the men, one of whom assumes a masquerade for the purpose; hence, loosely, any Negro idol, fetish, or bugaboo.
  • n. An object of superstitious homage and fear.
  • n. Incomprehensible or senseless language, usually intended to avoid answering plainly, confuse a listener, or obscure an issue.
  • n. Language so arcane or obscure as to be unintelligible to the listener.

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

  • n. language or ritual causing, or intending to cause, confusion

Etymologies

Perhaps of Mandingo origin .
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably from Mandinka maamajomboo ("mask; masked dancer"). What might be possible as well is the occurance of l-vocalization in the words "mumble" and "jumble". (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Woohoo, acrostic stepladder!

    July 29, 2009

  • =A masked figure among Mandingo peoples of western Africa
    =An object of superstitious homage and fear
    =A complicated often ritualistic observance with elaborate trappings
    =Complicated activity or language usually intended to obscure and confuse
    =Unnecessarily involved and incomprehensible language : gibberish
    =Language, behavior, or beliefs based on superstition

    January 19, 2009