AskDefine | Define gibberish

Dictionary Definition

gibberish n : unintelligible talking [syn: gibber]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈdʒɪb.ə.rɪʃ/, "dZIb.@.rIS/


ca. 16th century, the sound of chatter - imitation thereof


  1. speech or writing that is unintelligible, incoherent or meaningless
    Synonyms - see
  2. needlessly obscure or overly technical language


unintelligible speech or writing
  • Arabic:
  • Bulgarian: безсмислици, глупости
  • Chinese: 乱语 (luàn yǔ)
  • Danish: vrøvl , volapyk , kaudervælsk , nonsens
  • Dutch: koeterwaals
  • Finnish: siansaksa
  • French: baragouin, galimatias, charabia
  • Georgian: გაუგებარი მეტყველება (gaugebari metq‘veleba), გაუგებარი ყბედობა (gaugebari q‘bedoba), აბდაუბდა (abdaubda)
  • German: Kauderwelsch, Kokolores, Gequassel
  • Greek: ασυναρτησίες (asinartisíes)
  • Hungarian: badarság, zagyvaság
  • Italian: ostrogoto, borbottio
  • Japanese: ちんぷんかんぷん (chimpun-kampun)
  • Korean: 난센스 (nansenseu)
  • Polish: jazgot, bełkot
  • Portuguese: algaravia
  • Russian: тарабарщина, невнятность
  • Spanish: algarabía, farfulla, monserga
  • Swedish: nonsens
  • Turkish: saçma
needlessly obscure or overly technical language
  • Finnish: heprea
  • Polish: jazgot, bełkot
  • Spanish: jerga, galimatías

Extensive Definition

Gibberish is a generic term in English for talking that sounds like speech, but has no actual meaning (such as "ja sun tecumba tapar") or ("la bgud duyier jusrekd, oh mai!"). This meaning has also been extended to meaningless text or gobbledygook, such as "the cats are eating my shmibbleboop, someone save the prostate gland from defibble nozzle sands". The common theme in gibberish statements is a lack of literal sense, which can also be described as a presence of nonsense. In the realm of computers, the displaying or printing of binary (non-text) data due to a fault in hardware and/or software is called gibberish (e.g. simulated by entering "TYPE C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CMD.EXE" or "cat /bin/sh"). It is also a "language" frequently used by teenagers that can be understood, in which the words are divided by syllables and the first sound is spoken, followed by "idiga", then the last sound.
A family of language games in English are sometimes referred to as "Gibberish". Comedian Sid Caesar was noted for what he called "double-talk", an ability to speak varieties of nonsense syllables that sounded (to Americans) as if he was speaking various foreign languages.

Origin of the term

The term is first seen in English in the early 16th century . There are two common theories of origin for the term "gibberish". One says that the basis is in the old word "gibber" which is allied to "jabber". However, the use of "gibberish" is recorded before the use of "gibber", which weakens this theory. A second explanation says the word comes from the name of the eighth-century alchemist Jaber ibn Hayyan, who invented a strange terminology so that his works could not be understood by others, thus protecting himself against charges of heresy .

Uses in Fiction

In the "Sons of Arizona" storyline of the comic series "Y: The Last Man", Yorick Brown's compatriots Agent 355 and Dr. Allison Mann communicate in Gibberish when not wishing to be understood. A woman the trio have encountered instantly recognizes the Gibberish, describing it to Yorick (who had been told it was Chinese) as "like Pig Latin that only girls know".

See also


gibberish in German: Kauderwelsch
gibberish in Spanish: Jerigonza
gibberish in Hebrew: ג'יבריש
gibberish in Norwegian: Gibberisk

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Aesopian language, Babel, Gongorism, Greek, abracadabra, absurdity, amphigory, argot, babble, babblement, balderdash, balls, bibble-babble, blabber, blather, blether, bombast, bullshit, bunk, bunkum, cackle, cant, chatter, cipher, claptrap, code, crap, cryptogram, double Dutch, double-talk, drivel, drool, fiddle-faddle, fiddledeedee, flummery, folderol, fudge, fustian, gabble, galimatias, gammon, garbage, garble, gibber, gibble-gabble, gift of tongues, glossolalia, gobbledygook, hocus-pocus, humbug, jabber, jabberwocky, jargon, jumble, lingo, magic, mumbo jumbo, mumbo-jumbo, mummery, narrishkeit, niaiserie, noise, nonsense, pack of nonsense, palaver, patois, patter, phraseology, piffle, poppycock, prate, prattle, rant, rigamarole, rigmarole, rodomontade, rubbish, scatology, scramble, secret language, skimble-skamble, slang, sorcery, stuff and nonsense, stultiloquence, taboo language, thaumaturgy, trash, tripe, trumpery, twaddle, twattle, twiddle-twaddle, vaporing, vernacular, vocabulary, vulgar language, waffling
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1