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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The graduates in the first few rows mostly chattered and showed one another things on their phones. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "The Message of Measles," 26 Aug. 2019 One moment Millie was sitting up in her hospital bed, chattering away to her parents, recovering from what was supposed to be routine heart surgery a day earlier. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "The machine that saved Millie — and 999 other Riley kids before her," 6 June 2019 That is until Jaden Tommins (Snowfall’s Damson Idris), glides into Chris’ car in a nice suit, carrying nice luggage and chattering about his first-class flight. Ariana Romero,, "Black Mirror Season 5, Episode 2 Recap: "Smithereens"," 31 May 2019 At night, big, chattering black birds called zanates settle into a single tree in the city’s central park, and the gringos and Guatemalans gather to dance salsa clumsily. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "Destined for Export," 10 June 2019 Happy Days Dianne Wiest is riveting as a woman who chatters away while buried up to her waist in a dirt mound in Samuel Beckett’s 1961 classic of absurdist theater. Matt Cooper,, "SoCal theater listings, June 30-July 7: ‘American Saga — Gunshot Medley: Part 1’ and more," 28 June 2019 In 2011, Allen became curious about how many squirrels were chattering in the trees around him, but could find no good answer to his question. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Volunteers Counted All the Squirrels in Central Park," 24 June 2019 The best part of my day is listening to my mother and my son chattering back and forth, a sort of baby–old lady call-and-response. Deborah E. Kennedy, Good Housekeeping, "My Mom Has Dementia, But Her Relationship With My Son Is Unforgettable," 3 May 2019 Not long after its start, social media began chattering that some buyers were having trouble buying. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Refund Madness! Tiger & Phil’s Vegas Bogey," 25 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Engagement chatter sparked after the two were spotted wearing matching rings on vacation. Glamour, "Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson's Relationship: A Complete Timeline," 10 Sep. 2019 Books should be treated in the manner of movies or television shows, as occasions for collective chatter, as storehouses of shareable trivia, and once in a while as containers of detachable ideas. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 A year after the Globes were awash in a sea of black and #MeToo discussion replaced fashion chatter, the red carpet largely returned to more typical colors and conversation. Jake Coyle, The Seattle Times, "Mamma Mia! ‘Rhapsody’ upsets ‘Star Is Born’ at Globes," 7 Jan. 2019 Toronto Film Festival chatter on Twitter during the 2019 edition was dominated by Hollywood's early award season contenders, Twitter Canada said Sunday. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, "Toronto: 'Joker,' 'Knives Out' Star Chris Evans Dominated Twitter During Festival," 16 Sep. 2019 Some northern pike were reported caught on spinner baits and chatter baits around the southern end of Mosquito Reservoir. D'arcy Eagan,, "Lake Erie smallmouth bass biting around — where else? — the Bass Islands: Fishing Report for Sept. 13," 13 Sep. 2019 The winner of this game will silence hot seat chatter around its coach for one week, while the other can be prepared to get ripped for the foreseeable future. The Si Staff,, "College Football Week 2 Picks: LSU-Texas, Clemson-Texas A&M and More," 5 Sep. 2019 Inside, children played in the cafeteria and adults passed the time with games and chatter. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Hurricane Dorian Becomes a Carolina Problem With a Fierce Lashing of the Coast," 5 Sep. 2019 With a healthy summer off, expect Murray to garner some All-Star chatter early this season. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Projecting the Nuggets’ depth chart heading into 2019-’20 season," 24 Aug. 2019

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

Statistics for chatter

Last Updated

2 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chatter

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

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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

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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

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