warble

1 of 3

noun (1)

war·​ble ˈwȯr-bəl How to pronounce warble (audio)
1
: a melodious succession of low pleasing sounds
2
: a musical trill
3
: the action of warbling

warble

2 of 3

verb

warbled; warbling ˈwȯr-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce warble (audio)

intransitive verb

1
: to sing in a trilling manner or with many turns and variations
2
: to become sounded with trills, quavers, and rapid modulations in pitch
3
: sing

transitive verb

: to render with turns, runs, or rapid modulations : trill

warble

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: a swelling under the skin especially of the back of cattle, horses, and wild mammals caused by infestation with maggots of a botfly or warble fly
2
: the maggot of a warble fly
warbled adjective

Examples of warble in a Sentence

Verb Birds were warbling in the trees. He warbled his way through the song.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Speller’s welcoming warble was especially suited to the narrative role of the lyric. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2023 The reedy warble of his voice is a reminder of why he’s been an icon since teenhood. Pitchfork, 13 Dec. 2023 By recording and comparing different calls, Ford has found that within a single pod, each call will have a specific acoustic pattern--one call may consist of three warbles with an overall rise in pitch, then an abrupt drop-off at the end. Glen Martin, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 From the blackbirds with red shoulder pads to the murmuration-forming starlings, these birds have plenty to recommend them, including their warbles, chirps, and whistles. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 7 Sep. 2023 Audrey played an eight-string bass in the intro which broke a string on her first take; luckily, that take was perfect, and its eerie warble is one of my favorite sounds on this record. Daniel Kohn, Spin, 1 Sep. 2023 Seconds later the fire dispatcher is punching the audibles for Company 100, Company 8, and Station 4, trailed by the warble that signifies an MVA, a motor-vehicle accident. Oliver Broudy, Men's Health, 17 Aug. 2023 Her voice is lithe, elastic and effortlessly comic — her weird little flicks, trills and warbles earning delighted giggles from the audience. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 4 May 2023 Both engines have layers of character; our favorite attributes are the throat-clearing cackles when lifting off the throttle in the Z06 and the warbles that accompany aggressive upshifts in the GT3. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, 5 July 2023
Verb
The stereotype of large women in horned helmets warbling silly nothings comes largely from the period when American operagoers had lost the language skills that our great-grandparents had, either as European immigrants or European-admiring, upper-class swells. Nicholas Gallagher, Washington Examiner, 12 Jan. 2024 On Thursday, after 11 p.m., as lights warbled on the dark port water, police officers with masks loaded the accused onto vehicles and drove them to jail. Niki Kitsantonis, New York Times, 16 June 2023 Recent bird sightings reported to Mass Audubon: A sampling of new migrants that arrived last week included chimney swifts, yellow warblers, Louisiana waterthrushes, ovenbirds, wood thrushes, warbling vireos, Baltimore orioles and orchard orioles. Isabela Rocha, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Apr. 2023 Unsuspecting heshers who stumble into their set will be greeted with the analog warmth of vintage guitars and organs and Tommy Alexandersson’s warbling baritone. Brad Sanders, Chron, 21 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'warble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English werble tune, from Old French (Picard dialect), from werbler to sing expressively, trill, of Germanic origin; akin to Middle Dutch wervelen to turn, Old High German wirbil whirlwind — more at whirl

Noun (2)

perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to obsolete Swedish varbulde boil, from var pus + bulde swelling

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of warble was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near warble

Cite this Entry

“Warble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warble. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

warble

1 of 2 noun
war·​ble ˈwȯr-bəl How to pronounce warble (audio)
1
: low pleasing sounds forming a melody
2
: the action of warbling : trill

warble

2 of 2 verb
warbled; warbling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce warble (audio)
1
: to sing with trills
2
: to express by warbling

Medical Definition

warble

noun
war·​ble ˈwȯr-bəl How to pronounce warble (audio)
1
: a swelling under the hide especially of the back of cattle, horses, and wild mammals caused by the maggot of a botfly or warble fly
2
: the maggot of a warble fly
warbled adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on warble

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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