[jib-er-ish, gib-]
Gibberish is a generic term in English for talking that sounds like speech, but has no actual meaning. This meaning has also been extended to meaningless text or gobbledygook. The common theme in gibberish statements is a lack of literal sense, which can also be described as a presence of nonsense. In the realm of computers, the displaying or printing of binary (non-text) data due to a fault in hardware and/or software is called gibberish (e.g. simulated by entering "TYPE C:WINDOWSSYSTEM32CMD.EXE" or "cat /bin/sh").

A family of language games in English are sometimes referred to as "Gibberish". Comedian Sid Caesar was noted for what he called "double-talk", an ability to speak varieties of nonsense syllables that sounded (to Americans) as if he was speaking various foreign languages.

Origin of the term

The term is first seen in English in the early 16th century . The word comes from the name of the famous 8th-century Islamic alchemist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, whose name was Latinized as "Geber", thus the term "gibberish" arose as a reference to the incomprehensible technical jargon often used by Jabir and other alchemists who followed.

A Second expanation is from the British colony Gibraltar (from Arabic Gabal-Tariq meaning Mountain of Tariq), whose residents frequently speak in Spanish and English during their conversations. Gibraltarians will often start a sentence in Spanish and switch to English halfway through, making it difficult for non-locals to follow.

Also known as Jess talk.

See also

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