The etymology from rigmarole refers to a French word that refers to a muddled or confusing text or speech. The etymological origin, however, is found in the Greek expression katà Matthaîon, which translates as “According to Matthew”. This is linked to the description of the genealogy that Matthew the Apostle performs at the beginning of his gospel.
The idea of gibberish, thus, it refers to a intricate and difficult to understand language, with confusing ideas. He who expresses himself in gibberish does so in an unclear way.
For example: “The new essay by the German philosopher is made up of various gibberish that do not add anything interesting”, “The gibberish of the employer did not serve to provide peace of mind to the workers”, “With a speech full of gibberish, the president unveiled the economic plan for next year “.
In colloquial language, the concept of gibberish is used with respect to a disorder, a imbroglio or one confusion: “That the city organizes the film festival and the soccer tournament on the same date generates gibberish”, “The new political front of the left is a gibberish that brings together leaders with little in common”, “The intoxication of eight players and three members of the coaching staff caused gibberish at the club”.
Returning to the etymology of rigmarole, we must point out that according to the French Language Treasure, a dictionary dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, there is evidence of the existence of this term since the 1580s, in the Montaigne’s essays, which leaves without validity the other proposals.
Regarding the hypothesis mentioned at the beginning of this article, which refers to the expression “According to Mateo”, it is a proposal of the linguist Henry R. Kahane, who points out that it spread from the Greek city Byzantium. The French Academy of the language does not consider it entirely valid but rather qualifies it as uncertain.
It is enough to read the first lines of the Gospel of Saint Matthew to understand the reasons that relate this concept to the way the apostle expresses himself. They present a description too extensive kinship relationship that existed between many of the most important characters in the Bible, such as Abraham, David and Tamar.
The importance of the French language in this context is that from it we receive the word rigmarole, with the same meaning. If Kahane’s theory is correct, then gibberish arose in Greece before reaching France.
It is important to note that the gender of the word gibberish is masculine (it is said “Gibberish” and no “Gibberish”) and that it is an invariable term in number (it is expressed in the same way in the singular and in the plural: “Gibberish”, “Some gibberish”).
These clarifications are necessary because in everyday speech it is normal for people to get confused when using certain unusual words and expressions. Perhaps the most serious aspect of these mistakes is that then they go from one speaker to another and, in a matter of a few years, the Royal Spanish Academy ends up accepting them as part of the correct language, a strategy that has been deforming our language for years.
The great problem that sustains this kind of linguistic debauchery is that the language does not belong to anyone, not even to those born in the land where it is officially spoken, but belongs to everyone. For this reason, we all have the same right to speak and write in a idiom, regardless of the degree of knowledge we have of it. Interestingly, both one extreme and the other, namely scholarship and illiteracy, tend to lead to gibberish more often than a moderate level.