jab·​ber·​wocky ˈja-bər-ˌwä-kē How to pronounce jabberwocky (audio)
: meaningless speech or writing

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In a poem titled "Jabberwocky" in the book Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1872), Lewis Carroll warned his readers about a frightful beast:

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

This nonsensical poem caught the public's fancy, and by 1908 jabberwocky was being used as a generic term for meaningless speech or writing. The word bandersnatch has also seen some use as a general noun, with the meaning "a wildly grotesque or bizarre individual." It's a much rarer word than jabberwocky, though, and is entered only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Examples of jabberwocky in a Sentence

when he gets angry, he talks in a sort of agitated jabberwocky that is really quite comical

Word History


Jabberwocky, nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jabberwocky was in 1902


Dictionary Entries Near jabberwocky

Cite this Entry

“Jabberwocky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jabberwocky. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


jab·​ber·​wocky ˈjab-ər-ˌwäk-ē How to pronounce jabberwocky (audio)
: meaningless speech or writing
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