chat·​ter | \ ˈcha-tər How to pronounce chatter (audio) \
chattered; chattering; chatters

Definition of chatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to utter rapid short sounds suggestive of language but inarticulate and indistinct squirrels chattered angrily
2 : to talk idly, incessantly, or fast
3a : to click repeatedly or uncontrollably teeth chattering with cold
b : to vibrate rapidly in cutting a chattering tool
c : to vibrate especially audibly as a consequence of repeated sticking and slipping chattering brakes

transitive verb

: to utter rapidly, idly, or indistinctly



Definition of chatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action or sound of chattering
2 : idle talk : prattle
3 : electronic and especially radio communication between individuals engaged in a common or related form of activity also : such chatter regarding future hostile activities
4 : a person who participates in online chat Excite, Inc. … reports that users log a total of 7.5 to 8 million chat minutes on an average day. Half of online chatters are aged 18 to 34, and 15 percent are under age 17.— Rebecca Piirto Heath

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Other Words from chatter


chatterer noun
chattery \ ˈcha-​tə-​rē How to pronounce chatter (audio) \ adjective

Examples of chatter in a Sentence

Verb Children chattered in the middle of the playground. My teeth were chattering from the cold. Birds chattered in the trees. Noun heard the chatter of squirrels pleasant chatter over morning coffee
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Note when your brain starts to chatter with anxiety and bring your focus back to your body. New York Times, 20 July 2021 She’s not one to chatter on about her woes to a customer. Liz Balmaseda,, 7 Mar. 2021 Fashion fans frequently congregate on forums and Facebook groups to chatter about their favorite brands. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, 1 Mar. 2021 That translates to an overly rigid ride that’s prone to chatter and reduced edge hold. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, 22 Feb. 2021 Indeed, right up until the nose starts to chatter off line, Subaru's new coupe is gifted with exceptional balance and clairvoyant reflexes. Car and Driver, 18 Nov. 2020 But with fewer opportunities in physical work spaces to idly chatter, being an office busybody requires more effort. Reyhan Harmanci New York Times, Star Tribune, 7 Sep. 2020 The intense hue of a blue jay contrasts sharply with the aspen yellows as the birds chatter noisily while feeding. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Sep. 2020 Paris is no more Paris without its smart young people chattering outside at now closed cafes than New York is New York without skyscrapers. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, 24 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There was a fair amount of chatter concerning a Chinese nuclear reactor in southern China having an issue. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 15 June 2021 On the latter, expect a lot of chatter about inflation, interest rates and, even more damaging, the fear of rising inflation and interest-rate tightening. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 14 June 2021 But the one thing that sometimes gets under my skin is when crowd chatter drowns out the music, especially at a quiet acoustic show. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 July 2021 Since 2016, civil liberties groups have raised alarms about online surveillance of social media chatter by city officials and police departments. Sidney Fussell, Wired, 6 July 2021 Feige confirmed in the same Black Widow premiere interview last week that the company is following MCU chatter closely. Chris Smith, BGR, 5 July 2021 But that seems more like pre-draft chatter as opposed to anything of substance. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 3 July 2021 The Viacom review came amid internet chatter that trafficked in innuendo about the appropriateness of Schneider’s presence in the world of children’s entertainment. New York Times, 30 June 2021 That is when social-media posts uploaded by students over the weekend spill into chatter on campus and have the potential to snowball into a disruptive force. Yoree Koh, WSJ, 29 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chatter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chatter


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chatter


Middle English chatteren, of imitative origin

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Learn More About chatter

Time Traveler for chatter

Time Traveler

The first known use of chatter was in the 13th century

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Statistics for chatter

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Chatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for chatter



English Language Learners Definition of chatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to talk in a quick or casual way
: to make clicking sounds by knocking together rapidly
: to make fast and usually high-pitched sounds



English Language Learners Definition of chatter (Entry 2 of 2)

: casual talk that is usually not important or interesting
: a series of fast usually high-pitched sounds


chat·​ter | \ ˈcha-tər How to pronounce chatter (audio) \
chattered; chattering

Kids Definition of chatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to talk fast without thinking or without stopping My brothers chattered during the entire trip.
2 : to make quick sounds that suggest speech but lack meaning Monkeys chattered in the trees.
3 : to make clicking sounds by hitting together again and again My teeth are chattering from the cold.



Kids Definition of chatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or sound of chattering the chatter of squirrels the chatter of teeth
2 : quick or unimportant talk

More from Merriam-Webster on chatter

Nglish: Translation of chatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chatter for Arabic Speakers


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