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

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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

Figuring out whether to buy a new iPhone always requires sorting through marketing mumbo jumbo. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019 Figuring out whether to buy a new iPhone always requires sorting through marketing mumbo jumbo. Washington Post, "iPhone 11 first look: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 10 Sep. 2019 What fascinated was her way of demystifying things and her cool patience in cutting through mumbo jumbo. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Indelible Substance of a Semester with Toni Morrison," 7 Aug. 2019 First there was this mumbo jumbo about official windows of time where teams had to make appointments to meet with free agents, even though most teams had already tampered and contacted prospective free agents and agreed to deals. Gary Washburn,, "There are a lot of positives in Celtics’ deal for Kemba Walker. Now they need a center," 30 June 2019 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for mumbo jumbo

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for mumbo jumbo

The first known use of mumbo jumbo was in 1738

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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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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