chat·​ter | \ˈcha-tər \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from chatter


chatterer noun
chattery \-​tə-​rē \ adjective

Examples of chatter in a Sentence


Children chattered in the middle of the playground. My teeth were chattering from the cold. Birds chattered in the trees.


heard the chatter of squirrels pleasant chatter over morning coffee
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Here are some common reasons women find themselves with chattering teeth and frozen fingers more often than not. 1. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "Why Am I Always Cold?," 16 Oct. 2018 Instead of production numbers, look for dogged cops, chattering machine guns and bodies falling from heights. Mike Hale, New York Times, "The TV Binges of Summer, From Jack Ryan to ‘Better Call Saul’," 1 June 2018 The indefatigable Stephen Daldry directs this, too, and the ensemble of chattering, witty, thoughtful, campy friends (snaps to Michael Walters and Hubert Burton, reappearing as a conceptual artist) is faultless. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "What’s on at the Theater? A Comprehensive Guide to London’s Best Shows This Fall," 18 Oct. 2018 And the chattering classes are going to be chattering quite a bit because the President is going to be sitting down with Vladimir Putin. Fox News, "Watters' Words: A tale of two tours," 15 July 2018 My son blithely chattered away in his car-seat, conversing with his invisible friend, Tum-Tum the elephant. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Five Early Lessons in Parenting," 5 May 2018 For 13 miles of Sunday’s stage, the pack of more than 170 cyclists will shake, rumble and chatter their way across the lumpy cobbles of northern France between Arras and Roubaix. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "The Biggest Booby-Trap at the Tour de France: Cobblestone Roads," 13 July 2018 Another lay with his head in his father’s lap, chattering away. Molly Hennessy-fiske,, "Texas Border Patrol center where immigrant families are separated draws lawmakers, protest," 18 June 2018 All of you who are chattering inside my head, family, friends, advisers, naysayers, ancestors, thanks for everything, but please shut up now. Karen Stabiner, New York Times, "A Wedding Day Saga Ends With Words From the Heart," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Maybe the chatter among farmers in the field, out of official earshot, is saltier. Kyle Peterson, WSJ, "A Senate Barnburner in Farm Country," 7 Sep. 2018 Almost a year later, Koch and FC Cincinnati are still winning together, so perhaps its only natural the MLS chatter is flaring up again. Patrick Brennan,, "NYRB coaching vacancy filled as FC Cincinnati's Alan Koch again receives reported MLS interest," 6 July 2018 On Sunday night, the chatter among local reporters was that someone had seen the governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, who has overseen the search operation, break down and weep. Time, "'Happy as I Could Be in the World.' What It Was Like in Thailand When Rescuers Found the Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave," 2 July 2018 The chatter mainly was about President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and the unsettling sounds and images, broadcast around the world, of children separated from their undocumented parents by federal agents. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "In Trump country, support for president unwavering," 27 June 2018 But on social media, much of the chatter was about LeBron James’ first-quarter dunk. Fox News, "LeBron's Game 3 dunk sets social media on fire," 6 June 2018 The early chatter among those Republicans who do not back Trump is that a field of one or two challengers might get interesting. John King And Tasha Diakides, CNN, "Why Trump may face 2020 primary challenges in New Hampshire," 18 Mar. 2018 While past SXSWs have regularly focused on the ever-shifting nature of digital distribution, inside-baseball business chatter in 2018 was taking a backseat to social and cultural responsibility. Todd Martens,, "At the SXSW Music Festival, outrage is in the air," 14 Mar. 2018 Despite the chatter surrounding the show after Cohen duped politicians like Sarah Palin and former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the ratings fell flat. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Sacha Baron Cohen's controversies: From 'Borat' lawsuits to box office flops," 7 Aug. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chatter

Statistics for chatter

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chatter

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chatter

Spanish Central: Translation of chatter

Nglish: Translation of chatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chatter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on chatter

What made you want to look up chatter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!