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

Definition of prattle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to say in an unaffected or childish manner



Definition of prattle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from prattle


prattler \ ˈprat-​lər How to pronounce prattler (audio) , ˈpra-​tᵊl-​ər \ noun
prattlingly \ ˈprat-​liŋ-​lē How to pronounce prattlingly (audio) , -​tᵊl-​iŋ-​ \ adverb

Examples of prattle in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Someone is eating with his or her child or family, just having a quiet dinner, and shouting at them, screaming, demanding and prattling on about all these points. Fox News, "Ingraham: When the inmates run the immigration asylum," 26 July 2018 Middle Sister prattled on about how an atom having six principal quantum numbers can yield several emission lines, or some such. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award runner-up: "Most Best Happy Korean Bright Star" by Michelle Massie," 2 June 2018 The chapter is mostly made up of faintly (and not-so-faintly) ignorant rednecks who prattle on about their own superiority and sense of grievance that their pure white ways of life are being distorted and corrupted by the Jews and the blacks. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman draws a ham-fisted line from white supremacy’s past to its present," 15 May 2018 In a city that prattles endlessly about celebrating diversity, the Seaport stands as just the opposite. Adrian Walker,, "The latest evidence the Seaport isn’t getting diversity right: La Casa de Pedro’s problems," 13 May 2018 Instead of acting cool and sophisticated our narrator prattled like a flibbertigibbet. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction Chronicle: A Moonshine-Lit Kentucky Noir," 6 Apr. 2018 Butler prattles on about rush-hour traffic patterns. Lee Jenkins,, "Don't Try to Change Jimmy Butler," 9 Oct. 2017 The ensuing dinner scene demonstrates some of Feiffer's best writing, as Patsy's parents prattle on like the most memorable of the cartoonist's vapid authority figures. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Comedy / Film The still-relevant satire Little Murders is the best movie in town this week," 14 Aug. 2017 One of the young players prattled on excitedly about his team’s upcoming season— Jenny Vrentas,, "Sammy Watkins Is Done Talking; He's Ready to Play," 3 Aug. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun No one has ever listened to me prattle on for this long before. The Washington Post,, "Doritos developing quieter chips specifically for women," 5 Feb. 2018 Away from the incessant prattle of social media and the knee-jerk demands for harsh immediate action, a variety of perspectives was considered. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "World Series: Yuli Gurriel incident elicits attempts to bridge cultural divide," 28 Oct. 2017 They are allowed to prattle on about vague problems in America. Dom Giordano,, "Sports media wrong to glorify athletes who snub national anthem," 13 Sep. 2017 The Supreme Court’s seating chart requires the two to sit next to each other, and like plenty of SCOTUS seatmates before them, the justices often whisper to each other when lawyers at the lectern prattle on. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate Magazine, "The Next Ginsburg and Scalia?," 30 May 2017 Her boys laughed at her pretensions, prattle, and lack of culture. Longreads, "A Portrait of the Artist as an Undocumented Immigrant," 21 June 2017 Perhaps part of what Slobodchikoff deems prairie-dog language is just useless prattle. Ferris Jabr, New York Times, "Can Prairie Dogs Talk?," 12 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prattle.' 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 prattle


1532, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prattle


Low German pratelen; akin to Middle Dutch praten to prate

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Dictionary Entries near prattle






Pratt truss


Statistics for prattle

Time Traveler for prattle

The first known use of prattle was in 1532

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More Definitions for prattle


How to pronounce prattle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prattle

: to talk for very long about something that is not important or interesting


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

Kids Definition of prattle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to talk a great deal about unimportant or uninteresting things



Kids Definition of prattle (Entry 2 of 2)

: uninteresting or unimportant talk Amy's happy prattle became intolerable.— Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer

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More from Merriam-Webster on prattle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prattle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prattle

Spanish Central: Translation of prattle

Nglish: Translation of prattle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prattle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prattle

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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