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prat·​tle ˈpra-tᵊl How to pronounce prattle (audio)
prattled; prattling ˈprat-liŋ How to pronounce prattle (audio)

intransitive verb

: prate
: to utter or make meaningless sounds suggestive of the chatter of children : babble

transitive verb

: to say in an unaffected or childish manner
ˈprat-lər How to pronounce prattle (audio)
ˈprat-liŋ-lē How to pronounce prattle (audio)


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: trifling or empty talk
: a sound that is meaningless, repetitive, and suggestive of the chatter of children

Example Sentences

Verb They prattled on into the night, discussing school, music, and friends. spent an hour on the phone prattling on about nothing in particular Noun parents often claim to understand the prattle of their infant offspring
Recent Examples on the Web
DiFranco found herself in the surreal position of sitting behind a desk on the Financial News Network being asked to prattle on about profit margins. Jonathan Van Meter, SPIN, 8 Apr. 2023 His dad, Irving (Strong), is a tightly wound plumber who tends to prattle on whether or not anyone’s listening, about subjects as random as the perfect load-bearing qualities of a truss bridge. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2022 Lots of people can prattle on about football on TV, but the extreme upper echelon — the polished storytellers entrusted by the networks to call those premier national games — is wafer thin. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2022 Likewise, cars might rattle or prattle as your speed got faster. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 As always, those who prattle on about individual freedoms slip quite easily into authoritarianism when defied. Kevin Baker, Harper's Magazine, 23 June 2020 While some buffoon is prattling at length, its lips moving weirdly on a low-polygon face, this is usually the moment that your feet hurt or that your headset's face cushion itches. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 23 Mar. 2020 David prattled about the weather and asked if Harry had seen anything good on TV., 14 Jan. 2020 My aunt would prattle on about her kindergarten students, my uncles about their work as firefighters and linesmen., 21 Nov. 2019
The deadpan edge of much of the film’s 90 minutes of prattle conceals thoughts on the insularity of creative communities, the ticking clock of an artist’s life and the importance of remaining open to finding truth even in what appear to be random connections. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2022 The British playwright David Hare, who adapted a Maigret book for the stage, insists that Simenon—being Belgian-born and so an outsider—disdained the usual French prattle about gastronomy, and therefore cared little for the subject. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2022 His memoir is a litany of petty fights, a constant takedown of enemies and a cascade of self-aggrandizing prattle. Elizabeth Spiers, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2022 The Activision-Blizzard purchase, along with the now constant prattle about the metaverse, only increases the value of smaller studios, who could turn out to be the next Activison. Will Bedingfield, Wired, 25 Feb. 2022 Some of the crew pass blunts and prattle on the balcony. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 The story begins with gentle comedy: the narrator, a writer, keeps being disturbed in his study by the prattle of his five-year-old daughter, Mini. Suketu Mehta, Time, 17 Sep. 2021 Over the past several years, Carlson Stroud’s videos devolved from benign prattle about energy, God, and angels to drunken rants, dark threats, and apparent mistreatment of members. Virginia Pelley, Marie Claire, 7 Sep. 2021 These questions — and the obsessive attention to mundane details like Mr. Kim’s wristwatch — may seem like the idle prattle of celebrity gossip. New York Times, 29 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prattle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Low German pratelen; akin to Middle Dutch praten to prate

First Known Use


1532, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prattle was in 1532

Dictionary Entries Near prattle

Cite this Entry

“Prattle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


prattled; prattling
prattle noun

More from Merriam-Webster on prattle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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