Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To mix up or distort to such an extent as to make misleading or incomprehensible: She garbled all the historical facts.
  • transitive v. To scramble (a signal or message), as by erroneous encoding or faulty transmission.
  • transitive v. Archaic To sort out; cull.
  • n. The act or an instance of garbling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To sift or bolt, to separate the fine or valuable parts of from the coarse and useless parts, or from dross or dirt; as, to garble spices.
  • v. To pick out such parts of as may serve a purpose; to mutilate; to pervert; as, to garble a quotation; to garble an account.
  • v. To make false by mutilation or addition
  • n. refuse; rubbish
  • n. Impurities separated from spices, drugs, etc.; garblings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To sift or bolt, to separate the fine or valuable parts of from the coarse and useless parts, or from dros or dirt.
  • transitive v. To pick out such parts of as may serve a purpose; to mutilate; to pervert
  • n. Refuse; rubbish.
  • n. Impurities separated from spices, drugs, etc.; -- also called garblings.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sift or bolt; free from dross or dirt.
  • Hence— To pick out the fine or valuable parts of; cull out and select the best or most suitable parts or specimens of; sort out; select and assort, rejecting the bad or least suitable: as, to garble spices; to garble coins. See garbling the coinage, below. [Now only in technical use.]
  • To sort out parts of for a purpose, especially a sinister purpose; mutilate so as to give a false impression; sophisticate; corrupt: as, a garbled account of an affair; a garbled text or writing.
  • Synonyms Misquote, etc. (see mutilate); pervert, misrepresent, falsify.
  • n. Anything that has been sifted, or from which the coarse parts have been removed.
  • n. Refuse separated from goods, as spices, drugs, etc.: in the following passage applied to a low fellow. Compare trash in a similar use.

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

  • v. make false by mutilation or addition; as of a message or story

Etymologies

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 Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman garbeler ("to sift"), from Medieval Latin garbellare, from Arabic غربل (ğárbala, "to sift"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In a series of Tweets, Michael -- who turns 50 on Sunday -- told his troubled daughter that estranged ex-wife Dina had to "put the 'garble' aside and get on the same page" and join them all in therapy.

    RadarOnline RSS

  • The unfortunate consequence for those on VoIP-enabled calls is what is referred to as latency, jitter and packet loss, and the resultant "garble" or dropped calls are quite annoying.

    CIO.in

  • Ray Gorman's response is the kind of garble you hear executives spout when they don't know what they're talking about, or simply trying to BS someone who doesn't know what's going on

    Original Signal - Transmitting Gadgets

  • THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ALIEN INFLUENCE ON MANKIND. so get out of here with that brainwashed garble. and if there was a jesus he was probably just a hybrid alien human … man …. lol

    Is “The Fourth Kind” real or fake? Secrets revealed » Scene-Stealers

  • ((I swear, in my head, my above sentiment made so much more sense than the garble I typed out …)) #4 POSTED BY Jacob, Feb 20th, 2010 6: 18 am the firefly clan from house of 1000 corpses and the devils rejects should be on there

    Top 10 Dysfunctional Families in Movie Dramas » Scene-Stealers

  • Last month pop singer Lady Gaga caused a stir by urging young Malaysians to push back against local radio stations that garble the line "No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian or transgendered life, I'm on the right track, baby" in her song "Born This Way."

    Malaysia Video Raises an Outcry

  • [Warning: Lengthy post and legal garble follow after the break]

    On the Great Book Blockade of 2009 (Updated 7 May) (with BDAP Paper) « BAHAY TALINHAGA

  • He responded with a happy garble of Arabic, a rapid unintelligible stream from which I could snatch only isolated words: “Beirut … learn Arabic … good … New York … welcome.”

    Day of Honey

  • Emmitt Smith can do it all — win Super Bowls, dance with the stars, garble his words uncontrollably on ESPN — but can he succeed where so many others have failed and build a new hotel on 125th Street?

    2010 April «

  • Lots of gesturing, empty threats and unintelligable garble?

    “We Run ‘Tings, Tings Don’t Run We” « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

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