- (italbrac, theatre or film) (italbrac, mainly UK) Background noise of several "conversations", none of which are decipherable since actually all the actors are only repeating the word rhubarb (chosen because it contains no very sharp or recognisable phonemes) or other words with similar attributes. In UK use there is no implication that the "conversations" are intended to be angry, though they may be.
Etymology: From rhubarb sense 3
- 1983: Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, Victory Celebrations
- :(stage direction) They all rise and drink. Rhubarb, rhubarb...To convey the next stage of To convey the next stage of general inebriation, the remarks that follow are spoken in a sing-song.
- c1986: Tony Harrison, The Rhubarbarians read in John Matthias, Reading Old Friends: Essays, Reviews, and Poems on Poetics, 1975-1990 (1992)
- :Those glottals glugged like poured pop, each /Rebarbative syllable, remembrancer, raise /"Mob' rhubarb-rhubarb to a tribune's speech /Crossing the crackle as the hayracks blaze...
- 1995: Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar, Masterpiece Theatre: An Academic Melodrama
- :(film stage direction) Pan to a shot of the crowd of humanists surging forward and murmuring "Rhubarb, rhubarb".
- (pejorative) (italbrac, mainly UK) Speech which is undecipherable to the listener because it is in a language he doesn't understand; mumbo jumbo.
- 1997: Stephen R L Clark, Animals and Their Moral Standing
- :Human beings and human speech are historical inventions as well: our actual experience for long enough was of "ourselves', the local tribes of people, dogs and horses, and of the "others', theria (wild beasts) and barbaroi (who make noises that only vaguely sound like speech, as "rhubarb, rhubarb").
- 1998: Richard Wallace, Wynne Williams, The Three Worlds of Paul of Tarsus
- :"Barbarians' who made noises which sounded like "rhubarb-rhubarb' to Greeks who could not (and did not want to) understand them.
- 2005: Robert Leslie Fielding, Other People Other Worlds: The Collected Short Stories of Robert Leslie Fielding
- :I heard my name amongst so much mumbo jumbo. "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, Robert."
- (context, mainly, UK) blah
- Noun, Blah blah
- Noun, blah; (italbrac, pejorative) etc, etc.
- 1998: Brigid Lowry, Guitar Highway Rose
- :Not allowed to blah blah blah rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb. Just what I don't need when I'm feeling kind of seedy.
- 2001: Sheila Rowbotham, Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties
- :Judith recruited me as the voice of the grass roots. I said rhubarb, rhubarb to oblige her, but I felt like a charlatan. I had mobilized out of a genuine sense of outrage at Cathy's treatment, but the demand to enter the Oxford Union was another matter.
- 2005: Judith Woolf, Writing About Literature: Essay and Translation Skills for University Students of English and foreign literature.
- :All tutors and examiners are familiar with the essay which begins, in effect, 'All the poets of the seventeenth century said, "Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb," and in this Marvell was no exception.'
Supplemental Details:Sponsor an extended definition for rhubarb rhubarb for as little as $10 per month. Click here to contact us.