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 chattery (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 And as jaw-dropping as the body control is, there's a less desirable maxillofacial sensation over rough pavement, which will set your teeth chattering. Jared Gall, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota Camry TRD: Family Car or Track Star?," 14 Feb. 2020 From the hot tub, Kotalik, Weaver and Rowland sat with chattering teeth, reflecting on the brief but brutal moments in the cold. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "Hundreds take an icy leap at the annual Polar Plunge," 22 Dec. 2019 The camera — a Canon 5DS with a 200-millimeter lens — chattered like a Gatling gun, shooting frame after frame, 17 in a row, before moving up a few inches and shooting 17 more, then moving up again and shooting 17 more. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Answer Man goes up on the roof as a historic panoramic photo is re-created," 14 Dec. 2019 The teeth-chattering thrum of machinery drowned out the roar of cars on the freeway. Matthias Gafni,, "Caldecott Tunnel open and humming with sound of emergency power generators," 9 Oct. 2019 Jhonathan Valencia and Dangelyn Vargas, two 25-year-old actors who both live nearby, stopped at the base of the steps to take in the scene of chattering tourists. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, "‘Joker’ Stairs Become a Bronx Tourist Draw. Hope You’re in Shape.," 31 Oct. 2019 The onset of berserkergang purportedly began with bodily chills, shivering, and teeth chattering, followed by swelling and reddening of the face. Jennifer Ouellette, Wired, "How Vikings Went Into a Trancelike Rage Before Battle," 21 Sep. 2019 There are elements of berserker behavior that henbane cannot account for, such as the biting of shields and chattering teeth. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Viking berserkers may have used henbane to induce trance-like state," 18 Sep. 2019 Nestled in emerald banquettes, characters chattered over a feast of Cornish hen, sea bass, and shaking beef. Vogue, "Interview Magazine Celebrated 50 Years and a New Book With a Cocktail-Soaked Downtown Dinner," 30 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In these pieces, the chatter is among past, present and future. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: A D.C.-Madrid ‘conversation’ beween artists, two shows infused with color and light, and Persian perspectives," 7 Feb. 2020 After Krafcik left the stage, the chatter in the room was about whether new Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and his chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, will force Waymo to begin earning back its investment sooner rather than later. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Waymo Is Still an Expensive Science Project in Search of a Business," 7 Jan. 2020 The White Album,’ at least) speaks to their intense musical concentration, and the studio chatter is remarkably friendly, filled with jokes and encouragement. Jordan Runtagh,, "The Beatles' Abbey Road at 50: The Most Fascinating Revelations from the Expansive Box Set," 1 Oct. 2019 Using the opposite, in this case, the relaxed chatter of unthreatened birds, is somewhat novel. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Squirrels listen in on bird chatter to decide if they're safe, and that's scientifically significant," 5 Sep. 2019 Out here in the China Basin, when local pitching legend and former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner takes the hill, all that chatter is just a distraction from his dominance. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ bats sputter against southpaw Madison Bumgarner as Giants beat Colorado," 25 June 2019 There is a lot of chatter about this at the bar at the Des Moines Marriott, which serves as the unofficial Iowa headquarters of the national press corps. Matt Stevens, New York Times, "How Will the Winner of the Iowa Caucuses Be Chosen? Here’s What You Should Know," 1 Feb. 2020 The BrandIndex report sees a dominance of global technology brands who, with their constant innovations, have managed to create a lot of positive chatter amongst Indian consumers. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "Six of the 10 brands Indians loved most in 2019 were American," 22 Jan. 2020 Check out some of the chatter surrounding the Arizona coach, who has gone 5-7 and 4-8 in his first two seasons. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Wildcats' Kevin Sumlin among college football coaches on hot seat entering 2020," 20 Jan. 2020

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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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

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for chatter


How to pronounce chatter (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on chatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chatter

Spanish Central: Translation of chatter

Nglish: Translation of chatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chatter for Arabic Speakers

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