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 The prospect of a $500 PS5 got industry watchers chattering about whether such a price point could be broadly acceptable to the US console-buying market. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Is the US market ready to embrace a $500 game console?," 20 Feb. 2020 When my writer friend started the Burning Bowl Ceremony about 40 years ago, there were young children chattering in the corners of the house or reading a book out loud at the sticky kitchen table. Beth Thames |, al, "Burning Bowl Ceremony incinerates bad thoughts, habits," 29 Jan. 2020 While the regents held their session in another private room, the crowd waited in the meeting room, chattering and passing around petitions in hopes of getting enough signatures to reinstate Lane. Brittany Britto, Houston Chronicle, "TSU board of regents meet to discuss fate of school president Austin Lane," 4 Feb. 2020 Evan, 8, with his shoulder-length golden hair, can often be found chattering at length in a tutu and monster slippers. Erin Clark,, "For one Maine family, the long, hard road from ‘nowhere’ to home," 21 Dec. 2019 The growing ranks of $1 trillion companies inevitably gets investors chattering about whether market valuations are a bubble waiting to pop. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "The club of $1 trillion companies just keeps growing. Now there are four," 17 Jan. 2020 The onset of berserkergang purportedly began with bodily chills, shivering, and teeth chattering, followed by swelling and reddening of the face. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Viking berserkers may have used henbane to induce trance-like state," 18 Sep. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But the chatter online quickly zeroed in on Adele's weight loss. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Sharon Osbourne Doesn’t Believe ‘Really Big Women’ Are ‘Really Happy’ in Their Body," 14 May 2020 Raise them, and the naked uranium speaks more urgently to itself; lower them, and the chatter fades. Robin Sloan, The Atlantic, "The Conspiracy Museum," 14 May 2020 Heath officials in Baltimore are designing an ad campaign to debunk internet chatter that the virus is not affecting the black community. Washington Post, "Smallest caseload to biggest death toll: Coronavirus decimates D.C.’s poore...," 1 May 2020 As the company has repeatedly said, Zoom wasn’t built with the general public in mind, so some of its features make more sense for corporate users than typical chatters. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "Check these privacy and security settings before your next Zoom video chat," 2 Apr. 2020 Foster’s promotion provoked the Great Eight lineup chatter that still exists. Paul Daugherty,, "Paul Daugherty: You think you know how the 1975 World Series turned out. Do you really?," 28 Mar. 2020 This will be a change of pace After Andrew Luck complimenting defenders and Jacoby Brissett having little to say, expect a lot more chatter from Rivers. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "8 things to know about new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers," 17 Mar. 2020 Hopefully this will put to rest all the chatter that the home is too minimal for kids. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "See Inside the Kardashian-West Playroom, Which Has a Concert Stage, Craft Closet, and Grocery Store," 13 Feb. 2020 Yet somehow, such chatter didn’t seem to muster enough power—at least not as much as the women’s voices. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "As India rises in dissent, Bollywood reveals its real heroes: the women," 8 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

16 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Chatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 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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