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

People angered by the fatal shutoff and other APS issues took the opportunity to heckle anyone who would attend an event to honor Brandt. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Arizona business group gives APS CEO Don Brandt big award; protesters blame him for woman's death," 20 June 2019 The prince also attended the Sentebale Audi Concert this week, in aid of children affected by HIV in Southern Africa, where he was heckled by an excited audience member. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Just Held Secret Engagements in Windsor and London," 14 June 2019 Five Trump supporters heckled speakers at the pro-impeachment rally that attracted about 150 in downtown San Diego on Saturday. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Crowd gathers downtown to rally for impeachment," 16 June 2019 The 56-year-old had been branded a coward, nationally heckled and vilified for failing to confront the former student who gunned down and killed 17 students and staff at the school on Feb. 14, 2018. Tonya Alanez, sun-sentinel.com, "Ex-school deputy Scot Peterson arrested on charges of neglect of duty in Parkland massacre," 4 June 2019 Elisabeth Moss was recently standing on a corner in New York City when some people drove by and heckled her out of their car window. Alina Cho, Marie Claire, "Women of the Hour: Thandie Newton, Elisabeth Moss, and Sandra Oh," 5 Apr. 2019 In video footage of the attack on the mayor, the white-haired Mr. Boutaris is heckled by a crowd of men, some masked and dressed in black. Niki Kitsantonis, New York Times, "75-Year-Old Mayor Is Attacked in Greece, and Nationalists Rejoice," 21 May 2018 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

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

12 Jul 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

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