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

Opposing protesters quickly gathered there, sparking tensions as the two camps heckled each other. Time, "Conflict Breaks Out in Hong Kong Mall Amid Counter Protests," 14 Sep. 2019 Opposing protesters quickly gathered there, sparking tensions as the two camps heckled each other. SFChronicle.com, "News of the Day From Around the World," 14 Sep. 2019 Counter protesters quickly gathered there, sparking tension as the two camps heckled each other. Washington Post, "Skirmishes break out in Hong Kong mall amid counter rallies," 11 Sep. 2019 The far-right rallygoers marched in the middle of the street, surrounded by a phalanx of police, while counter-protesters heckled them from the sidewalks on either side. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "'Unite the Right' march triggers tension, Antifa clashes, hundreds of counterprotesters," 13 Aug. 2018 When the professor did not appear, the students heckled the head of the university’s journalism department and occupied the building. BostonGlobe.com, "HONG KONG — Hundreds of students marched through a Hong Kong campus Monday and broke the glass on several doors to protest the arrest of a college reporter who was taken into custody during a rally this weekend for carrying what his school’s president described as a table knife.," 17 Sep. 2019 Smith said a San Clemente student then came up and started heckling them too. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Community leaders want San Clemente High to apologize after alleged racial slurs against Lincoln students," 16 Sep. 2019 An Ontario member of Parliament, Gurrattan Singh, was recently heckled with Islamophobic comments by a man who perceived Singh as a Muslim. Simran Jeet Singh, The Conversation, "Why Sikhs wear a turban and what it means to practice the faith in the United States," 13 Sep. 2019 Of course, it could also be interpreted as a kiss-off to Medley for heckling her during a cabaret performance. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "The Definitive Ranking of Every Single Real Housewives Song," 5 Aug. 2019

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 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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