Is there a word that describes when someone blurts out something quickly and excitedly and in a sort of foolish way? For example, the word babble describes the act of "talking rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way." The word I'm looking for is similar, but doing it hastily and only for a short bit.

For example, the context I'm using it in is a soldier saying a quick, incomprehensible prayer before the eve of battle that no one around him really catches the meaning of. I could say that he "babbles a prayer," but if he only does it for a short moment, it doesn't really fit the context.

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    When someone says something in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way for a brief moment, somebody within earshot asks about it on ELU. – John Lawler Apr 21 '14 at 17:35

I would say "jibber-jabber," or simply "jabber."

jabber: to talk in a fast, unclear, or foolish way.

He jabbered a prayer for mercy and was as humble as Uriah Heep.

He kneeled down on the kitchen floor, folded his arms and bowed his head, jibber jabbered a prayer, and then said "Amen."

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  • I feel like this works for what I want, especially since the examples are almost spot-on for the usage I needed. Thank you! – YonkeyDonk64 Apr 22 '14 at 6:12

Perhaps you are looking for mutter.

Merriam-Webster says

1 : to utter sounds or words indistinctly or with a low voice and with the lips partly closed

2 : to murmur complainingly or angrily : grumble


transitive verb : to utter especially in a low or imperfectly articulated manner

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  • I wanted this at first, but its more like he's blabbing something out emotionally and uncontrollably, not softly and indistinctly. – YonkeyDonk64 Apr 22 '14 at 6:11
  • Hmm. Sounds like "incoherent" would be useful - "He blurted incoherently". – andy256 Apr 22 '14 at 6:16

A foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way for a brief moment is a boutade or a sudden outburst or outbreak.

By its nature, all uncontrolled speech is "foolish, excited, or incomprehensible":

Drivel: Driv"el, n. 1. Slaver; saliva flowing from the mouth. [1913 Webster]

  1. Inarticulate or unmeaning utterance; foolish talk; babble. [1913 Webster] -http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/cide/54369/Drivel

Prate: v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Prated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Prating}.] [Akin to LG. & D. praten, Dan. prate, Sw. & Icel. prata.] To talk much and to little purpose; to be loquacious; to speak foolishly; to babble. [1913 Webster]

To prate and talk for life and honor. --Shak. [1913 Webster] -http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/cide/137596/Prate

Inaniloquent: prone to foolish or empty babbling

Footle: intransitive verb (footled; footling) Etymology: probably alteration of footer to waste time Date: 1892 1. to talk or act foolishly 2. to waste time ; trifle, fool • footle noun • footler noun

If you are mad as hell, an ebullition 1 : a sudden violent outburst or display 2 : the act, process, or state of boiling or bubbling up , or a fantod: an emotional outburst fit suits your "brief moment" limitation

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  • Oooh, very nice! Thank you for the well-researched answers! These are all very eloquent, but I need a verb rather than a noun. Footle is nice, but not quite what I needed. I will have to remember fantod for later! – YonkeyDonk64 Apr 22 '14 at 6:14

Gabbler would be correct to say.

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  • Interesting, is this a noun then? As in, one who gabbles? – YonkeyDonk64 Apr 22 '14 at 6:12

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