- The definition of garble is to do something to a message so that it cannot be understood, or the reproduction of a sound or story so that the original meaning is distorted or lost.
- When you are told a story about why someone was late but you completely miss the point of the story and retell an incorrect and messed up account of what happened, this is an example of when you garble the story.
- When a radio frequency transmitting a broadcast doesn't come in clearly and the voices sound distorted, this is an example of when the broadcast is garbled.
transitive verbgarbled, garbling
- Obsolete to sort by sifting
- Rare to select the best parts of
- to suppress or distort parts of (a story, etc.) in telling, so as to mislead or misrepresent
- to confuse or mix up (a quotation, story, message, etc.) unintentionally, as through inaccurate copying or poor radio transmission
Origin of garbleMiddle English garbelen ; from Italian garbellare, to sift ; from garbello, a sieve ; from Arabic gharbāl, earlier ghirbāl ; from Late Latin cribellum, small sieve, diminutive of Classical Latin cribrum, a sieve, akin to cernere: see critic
transitive verbgar·bled, gar·bling, gar·bles
- To mix up or distort to such an extent as to make misleading or incomprehensible: The report garbled all the historical facts.
- To scramble (a signal or message), as by erroneous encoding or faulty transmission.
- Archaic To sort out; cull.
Origin of garbleMiddle 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.
(third-person singular simple present garbles, present participle garbling, simple past and past participle garbled)