"action of talking," earlier "chatter, loquacity, idle talk" (mid-13c.), also "falsehood, deceit," originally "a gibe, a taunt" (c. 1200), mid-13c., probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse gabb "mocking, mockery," and in part from Old French gap, gab "joke, jest; bragging talk," which also is probably from Scandinavian (compare gab (v.)). Probably also there is influence from Scottish and northern English gab "the mouth" (see gob (n.2)); OED reports the word "Not in dignified use." Gift of (the) gab "talent for speaking" is from 1680s.
"talk much," 1786, probably via Scottish and northern England dialect from earlier sense "speak foolishly; talk indiscreetly" (late 14c.), from gabben "to scoff, jeer; mock (someone), ridicule; reproach (oneself)," also "to lie to" (late 13c.), from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse gabba "to mock, make fun of," and probably in part from Old French gaber "to mock, jest; brag, boast," which, too, is from Scandinavian. Ultimately perhaps imitative (compare gabble, which might have shaded the sense of this word). Gabber was Middle English for "liar, deceiver; mocker." Related: Gabbed; gabbing.
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