mumbo jumbo

mum·​bo jum·​bo | \ ˌməm-bō-ˈjəm-(ˌ)bō How to pronounce mumbo jumbo (audio) \

Definition of mumbo jumbo

1 : an object of superstitious homage and fear
2a : a complicated often ritualistic observance with elaborate trappings
b : complicated activity or language usually intended to obscure and confuse
3 : unnecessarily involved and incomprehensible language : gibberish
4 : language, behavior, or beliefs based on superstition

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of mumbo jumbo in a Sentence

We were confused by all the legal mumbo jumbo. His explanation was just a lot of mumbo jumbo.

Recent Examples on the Web

John, however, a mechanical engineer working toward his doctorate in environmental engineering was just the guy to sort through the mechanical mumbo jumbo. Marni Jameson,, "Next generation of homeowners go for greener yard tools," 6 July 2018 None of the steps along the way require readers to buy into sci-fi mumbo jumbo or to suspend disbelief. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Wimbledon, Scarlett Johansson, House of Cards: Broadsheet July 6th," 6 July 2018 There’s no mumbo jumbo about the Force, no lightsabers, no First Order, and scarcely a mention of the Empire. Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, "Solo: Finally a Star Wars Movie That's Not a Rehash of Star Wars," 15 May 2018 As a result, even when Spanish vintners try to follow American-style labeling rules by naming their wines for grapes instead of towns or regions, those Spanish grape names still read like mumbo jumbo. Gar Joseph & Marnie Old,, "Cheap Buzz: Cracking the Spanish wine code," 10 Jan. 2018 My son Gabe and his friend Jake are already tight, so that makes little sense — kind of like a lot of the mumbo jumbo espoused by the chain. Anna Caplan, star-telegram, "MidiCi has some work to do if it wants to be part of Fort Worth's pizza pie," 1 Mar. 2018 The Force is, to me, still silly Star Wars mumbo jumbo, but Johnson finds a way to underscore it with humanity, with a classical Greek rumble of true pathos. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' — What the Critics Are Saying," 12 Dec. 2017 The Force is, to me, still silly Star Wars mumbo jumbo, but Johnson finds a way to underscore it with humanity, with a classical Greek rumble of true pathos. Richard Lawson, HWD, "The Last Jedi Review: The Force Is Especially Strong in This One," 12 Dec. 2017 First there was denial: maybe Trade Federation mumbo jumbo and borderline racist alien caricatures were some modern commentary on… OK, no. Matt Patches, Esquire, "How I Forgave George Lucas and Learned to Love Star Wars Again," 4 May 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mumbo jumbo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of mumbo jumbo

1738, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mumbo jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo, a masked figure among Mandingo peoples of western Africa

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mumbo jumbo

Dictionary Entries near mumbo jumbo




mumbo jumbo




Statistics for mumbo jumbo

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mumbo jumbo

The first known use of mumbo jumbo was in 1738

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mumbo jumbo

mumbo jumbo


English Language Learners Definition of mumbo jumbo

informal : confusing or meaningless words or activity

More from Merriam-Webster on mumbo jumbo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mumbo jumbo

Spanish Central: Translation of mumbo jumbo

Comments on mumbo jumbo

What made you want to look up mumbo jumbo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!