Advertisement

marbles (n.)

children's game, from plural of marble (n.); the game is recorded by that name by 1709 but is probably older (it was known in 13c. German as tribekugeln). It was originally played with small balls of polished marble or alabaster, later clay; the modern glass ones marbles the colored swirl date from the 1840s.

Meaning "mental faculties, common sense" (as in to lose or not have all one's marbles) is by 1927, American English slang, perhaps [OED] from earlier slang marbles "furniture, personal effects, 'the goods' " (1864, Hotten), a corrupt translation of French meubles (plural) "furniture" (see furniture).

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of marbles

marbles (n.)
a children's game played with little balls made of a hard substance (as glass);
marbles (n.)
the basic human power of intelligent thought and perception;
he still had all his marbles and was in full possession of a lively mind
Synonyms: wits
From wordnet.princeton.edu