(g hard) properly means to sift out the refuse. Thus, by the statute of 1 James I. 19, a penalty is imposed on the sale of drugs not garbled. We now use the word to express a mutilated extract, in which the sense of the author is perverted by what is omitted. (French, garber, to make clean; Spanish, garbillar.)
“A garbled quotation may be the most effectual perversion of an author's meaning.” —McCosh: Divine Government, p. 14.
One of the best garbled quotations is this: David said (Psalm xiv. 1), “There is no God” (omitting the preceding words, “The fool hath said in his heart.”)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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