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


bait, hassle, haze, needle, ride, taunt, tease

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Choose the Right Synonym for heckle

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

Seriously, who would have ever thought that the gentleman’s sport of golf would be polluted by drunken, heckling fans. Mike Bianchi, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Kudos to Orlando City for trashing its garbage-throwing fans," 21 May 2018 Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled and harassed at a Mexican Washington D.C. restaurant in June. Fox News, "Ted Cruz heckled by radical protesters in DC restaurant: video," 26 Sep. 2018 Ever since Beijing suppressed the pro-democracy movement in the semi-autonomous city in late 2014, heckling China’s national anthem has emerged as a form of protest. Violet Law, The Seattle Times, "Hong Kong’s legislature takes up China national anthem bill," 23 Jan. 2019 On Tuesday, she was heckled by protesters at a Mexican restaurant two blocks from the White House. Justin Wm. Moyer And Teo Armus, chicagotribune.com, "Protesters gather at White House, Justice Department to oppose family separations at border," 23 June 2018 The man, who was wearing a light blue checkered shirt and had a little American flag, was apparently the same person who also reportedly heckled Trump. Benjamin Brown, Fox News, "2 guests kneel during national anthem at White House 'Celebration of America' event," 7 June 2018 Demi heckles them by throwing a full turkey leg onto the stage. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "The Bachelor Season 23, Episode 3 Recap: Elyse for Bachelorette?," 21 Jan. 2019 Like start heckling the crowd back, Acosta, like, get ... Fox News, "Gutfeld: Be nicer. It will drive your enemies nuts," 5 Aug. 2018 Chrissy came on the Voice in her pjs and heckled the judges, John sang from his Christmas album, Derek Hough danced. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "How Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's 'A Legendary Christmas' Reinvented the Holiday Special," 29 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for heckle

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for heckle

The first known use of heckle was circa 1825

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on heckle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heckle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heckle

Spanish Central: Translation of heckle

Nglish: Translation of heckle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heckle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on heckle

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something valued as if it were money

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