A perfect Babel. A thorough confusion. “A Babel of sounds.” A confused uproar, in which nothing can be heard but hubbub. The allusion is to the confusion of tongues at Babel. (Genesis xi.)
God ... comes down to see their city, ... ... and in derision sets Upon their tongues a various spirit, to raze Quite out their native language, and instead To sow a jangling noise of words unknown. Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud Among the builders; each to other calls Not understood. ... Thus was the building left Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.
Milton: Paradise Lost, xii, 48–63.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894