heck·​le | \ ˈhe-kəl How to pronounce heckle (audio) \
heckled; heckling\ ˈhe-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce heckle (audio) \

Definition of heckle

transitive verb

: to harass and try to disconcert with questions, challenges, or gibes : badger

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Synonyms for heckle


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bait, badger, heckle, hector, chivy, hound mean to harass by efforts to break down. bait implies wanton cruelty or delight in persecuting a helpless victim. baited the chained dog badger implies pestering so as to drive a person to confusion or frenzy. badgered her father for a car heckle implies persistent annoying or belligerent interruptions of a speaker. drunks heckled the stand-up comic hector carries an implication of bullying and domineering. football players hectored by their coach chivy suggests persecution by teasing or nagging. chivied the new student mercilessly hound implies unrelenting pursuit and harassing. hounded by creditors

Examples of heckle in a Sentence

Several protesters were heckling the speaker at the rally. The players were being heckled by the fans. People in the crowd were booing and heckling as she tried to speak.
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Recent Examples on the Web Now award-show hosting pros, Tina and Amy heckle Neil Patrick Harris at the Emmys. October 2013: Amy and Tina sign on to host the next two Golden Globes. Lizzie Logan, Vulture, "The History of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Best Friendship," 1 Mar. 2021 President Donald Trump referred to the video to heckle Romney during his now-infamous speech to protesters before the U.S. Capitol was stormed, which led this week to the president’s second impeachment. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Delta Air Lines bans passengers who taunted Mitt Romney on flight," 14 Jan. 2021 The Children of Yost were there only in cardboard form, unable to heckle the opponent, and eight of the best young players for the Gophers and Michigan were absent, too, off to duty at the U.S. National Junior team training camp. Randy Johnson, Star Tribune, "No. 4 Gophers stay perfect, top No. 5 Michigan in men's hockey," 9 Dec. 2020 Asked about there being no fans at Kinnick Stadium to heckle him Saturday, Fitzgerald feigned ignorance. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Iowa-Northwestern live stream (10/31): How to watch college football online, TV, time," 31 Oct. 2020 Houston probably would have drawn extremely well on the road, particularly in Oakland, such was the desire to heckle. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s set to play scandal-ridden Astros: ‘There’s stuff we can’t look past’," 6 Aug. 2020 When a protester approached the candidate and heckled him at a Feb. 10 event in Manchester, N.H., Jill Biden assisted security staff at the event with removing him. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Joe Biden praises Jill Biden for fending off protesters, saying his 'wife is my Secret Service'," 5 Mar. 2020 At one point, Turkington shows up at a town hall meeting, specifically to heckle Heidecker over his lack of credibility as a movie critic. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mister America': Film Review," 8 Oct. 2019 He has been heckled on visits to towns that were destroyed, with residents and firefighters refusing to shake his hand. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "When Will Australia’s Prime Minister Accept the Reality of the Climate Crisis?," 15 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heckle.' 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 heckle

circa 1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for heckle

Middle English hekelen to dress flax, scratch, from heckele hackle; akin to Old High German hāko hook — more at hook

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Time Traveler for heckle

Time Traveler

The first known use of heckle was circa 1825

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Statistics for heckle

Cite this Entry

“Heckle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heckle. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for heckle



English Language Learners Definition of heckle

: to interrupt (someone, such as a speaker or performer) by shouting annoying or rude comments or questions

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