heck·le | \ˈhe-kəl \
heckled; heckling\ˈhe-k(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of heckle 

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from heckle

heckler \ˈhe-k(ə-)lər \ noun

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

The 32-year-old Trump adviser was reportedly heckled at a sushi restaurant near his apartment in the District during an encounter that spurred him to immediately throw the meal away, according to The Washington Post. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Trump adviser Stephen Miller reportedly threw away $80 sushi after bartender gave him the finger," 10 July 2018 Against Serbia, Xhaka, Shaqiri (and a number of other ethnically Albanian players) were mercilessly heckled by Serbian fans. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The World Cup is a celebration of cosmopolitanism, until it isn’t," 4 July 2018 The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen this week was literally screamed and heckled out of a restaurant while eating her dinner. Fox News, "Judge Jeanine: Political debate has become political abuse," 24 June 2018 But some local restaurateurs and their staffs are reexamining those standards after a series of incidents last week, in which several Trump aides attempting to dine out were heckled or asked to leave because of their political affiliation. Janelle Nanos, BostonGlobe.com, "Would you ask someone to leave your restaurant? Boston owners say that’s tricky," 26 June 2018 Since Waters made the comments, several administration officials have been heckled and harassed, including White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. CBS News, "San Bernardino prosecutor punished for comments about Maxine Waters, Michelle Obama," 10 July 2018 A few weeks ago, the Kentucky Republican was heckled outside of an event in Georgetown with his wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, over the Trump administration's immigration policies. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Mitch McConnell says protesters 'waited until Elaine wasn't around'," 10 July 2018 They shouldn't be heckled for wearing short trunks or even a Speedo. Liza Corsillo, GQ, "These Are the Swim Trunks Women Want You to Wear," 2 July 2018 Nielsen was heckled by protesters in Washington, D.C. who disagreed with the Trump administration’s policy to separate children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Mckenna Moore, Fortune, "Rep. Maxine Waters Tells Supporters to Harass Trump Cabinet Members," 25 June 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

18 Oct 2018

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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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