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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web 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 Lam's annual policy address ended in chaos as pro-democracy lawmakers repeatedly disrupted her speech and heckled her with calls to honor the demands of anti-government protesters. James Griffiths, CNN, "Hong Kong campus siege almost over, but the violence and anger is here to stay," 18 Nov. 2019 An employee in Beijing of German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG lost her job after she was heckled by an online mob for going outside her home to run in defiance of government orders. Liza Lin, WSJ, "Coronavirus Rule Breakers Draw Public Ire Online," 28 Mar. 2020 The grandstands back right up to the next hole, and the rowdy fans, while perhaps very inebriated, are still usually capable of turning their bodies around 180 degrees to heckle the same golfers who just escaped the clutches of the coliseum. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "Waste Management Phoenix Open offers high rewards on hole 17 who those who survive 16," 28 Jan. 2020 In the short film, Goldman (Sandler) is interrupted while going through his robot routine by Silverman (Benny Safdie), who begins to heckle him, much to the delight of the surrounding crowd. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Watch Adam Sandler Play a Times Square Street Performer in Short Film from Uncut Gems Directors," 17 Jan. 2020 That trio was up out of their seats yelling for all the Knicks' big shots - the Knicks beat the Rockets 125-123 - and even good-naturedly heckling some of the Rockets players. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Celebrities at the Rockets-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden," 3 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about heckle

Time Traveler for heckle

Time Traveler

The first known use of heckle was circa 1825

See more words from the same year

Statistics for heckle

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heckle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heckle. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for heckle


How to pronounce heckle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heckle

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on heckle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heckle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heckle

Spanish Central: Translation of heckle

Nglish: Translation of heckle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heckle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on heckle

What made you want to look up heckle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!