Mumble



[muhm-buh l] /ˈmʌm bəl/

verb (used without object), mumbled, mumbling.
1.
to speak in a low indistinct manner, almost to an unintelligible extent; mutter.
2.
to chew ineffectively, as from loss of teeth:
to mumble on a crust.
verb (used with object), mumbled, mumbling.
3.
to say or utter indistinctly, as with partly closed lips:
He mumbled something about expenses.
4.
to chew, or try to eat, with difficulty, as from loss of teeth.
noun
5.
a low, indistinct utterance or sound.
/ˈmʌmbəl/
verb
1.
to utter indistinctly, as with the mouth partly closed; mutter
2.
(rare) to chew (food) ineffectually or with difficulty
noun
3.
an indistinct or low utterance or sound
v.

early 14c., momelen, “to eat in a slow, ineffective manner” (perhaps “to talk with one’s mouth full”), probably frequentative of interjection mum. The -b- is excrescent. Meaning “to speak indistinctly” is from mid-14c. Related: Mumbled; mumbling.
n.

1902, from mumble (v.).

1. Said when the correct response is too complicated to enunciate, or the speaker has not thought it out. Often prefaces a longer answer, or indicates a general reluctance to get into a long discussion. “Don’t you think that we could improve LISP performance by using a hybrid reference-count transaction garbage collector, if the cache is big enough and there are some extra cache bits for the microcode to use?” “Well, mumble … I’ll have to think about it.”
2. Yet another metasyntactic variable, like foo.
3. Sometimes used in “public” contexts on-line as a placefiller for things one is barred from giving details about. For example, a poster with pre-released hardware in his machine might say “Yup, my machine now has an extra 16M of memory, thanks to the card I’m testing for Mumbleco.”
4. A conversational wild card used to designate something one doesn’t want to bother spelling out, but which can be glarked from context. Compare blurgle.
5. [XEROX PARC] A colloquialism used to suggest that further discussion would be fruitless.
(1997-03-27)

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