Garble - Encyclopedia

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GARBLE (a word derived from the Arab. gharbala, to sift, and related to ghirbal, a sieve; the Arabic words are of foreign origin, probably from the Lat. cribrum, a sieve), originally a medieval commercial term in the Mediterranean ports, meaning to sort out, or to sift merchandize, such as corn, spices, &c., in order to separate what was good from the refuse or waste; hence to select the best of anything for retention. Similarly a "garbler" was an official who was appointed to sort out, or test the work of those who had already sorted, the spices or drugs offered for sale in the London markets. In this original sense the word is now obsolete, but by inversion, or rather perversion, "garble" now means to sort out or select, chiefly from books or other literary works, or from public speeches, some portion which twists, mutilates, or renders ineffective the meaning of the author or speaker.

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