To Talk Gibberish

This phrase is derived from Geber who was an 11th century alchemist from Arabia, and the obscure mystical jargon he wrote in to avoid the displeasure of the respective members of the church of the day. Had he written openly this would have resulted in a severe penalty (probably death). What Geber wrote was quite unintelligible to others and anyone who talks ‘gibberish’ today usually talks fast and inarticulately and what they are saying tends to be complete nonsense. ‘Gibber’ is a variant ‘jabber’ which comes from the old words gabber or gab.

Words by Adam Jacot de Boinod, author of The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from around the World, published by Penguin Books and creator of the iPhone App Tingo, a quiz on Interesting Words

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