Definition of cackle in English:



  • 1 (of a bird, especially a hen or goose) give a raucous clucking cry.

    ‘the hen was cackling as if demented’
    ‘cackling, whooping cries’
    • ‘Police radios cackled along with the birds in Central Park.’
    • ‘They raised cackling laying hens and pastured fat, spotted steers.’
    • ‘To dream you hear hens cackling foretells success in love, and an accumulation of riches by means of female relations.’
    • ‘Brown pelicans and frigatebirds with vast wingspans soar on the Leeward thermals, and laughing gulls cackle.’
    • ‘Even if I do not look, I know they are there, because they crow, cackle, purr, flap their wings, and make other sounds of delight, fear, and accomplishment.’
    • ‘During the ride, Paul hears geese cackling from a house, and he and Kat make plans to return.’
    • ‘A small current whirled around us, the giant fan palms nearby quivered in the almost imperceptible breeze and tropical birds whooped, cackled and whistled among the trees.’
    • ‘They waddle around and squawk and cackle and chase each other around the beaches, stumbling all over themselves.’
    • ‘Yet one visitor from Northern Ireland got it right about the museum when she described it as ‘a sanctuary amidst the thousand cackling hens purchasing ever more tacky plastic tartan mugs’.’
    • ‘Whistling women and cackling hens will never come to any good ends.’
    • ‘Some have suggested that hens cackle to announce to roosters their renewed receptivity to mating.’
    • ‘And you'll not hear a pig grunting or a hen cackling in many farmyards today.’
    • ‘At certain times there can be a million birds in front of you consisting of sandhill cranes, snow geese, cackling geese, white-fronted geese, pintails, wigeons and mallards.’
    • ‘That's why I'm pushing so hard to get side jobs now, while the goose is still cackling.’
    squawk, cluck, clack
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    1. 1.1Laugh in a loud, harsh way.
      ‘she cackled with laughter’
      • ‘With his reluctant audience unable to muster up the required level of self-deprecation to laugh at the joke, he just cackles away to himself regardless.’
      • ‘The guffaws and giggles cackled around the school for all to hear and my bubble of individuality was burst with the finality that only mockery by one's peers can accomplish.’
      • ‘Another kick to the chest sent him into another sputtering cough and the men began to cackle and laugh.’
      • ‘The interns began cackling with furious laughter.’
      • ‘They cackled, laughed, and hissed with delight as they flew off towards their hide out, going to tell their master of their work.’
      • ‘I remember crying my heart out, while he only cackled manically.’
      • ‘He laughed as she winced, cackled as Christopher sprawled in the dust.’
      • ‘I would cackle wickedly right now, but I lost my laugh permanently during a bout of whooping-fever in 1907.’
      • ‘Grandma Ida was cackling with unbridled laughter, and Jude laughed right along with her.’
      • ‘The class burst with laughter at her response while Sherry and Mandy cackled on evilly, thinking that Livinia was in for it.’
      • ‘He had on a sly grin and cackled louder and louder as he made his way closer to her.’
      • ‘Suddenly, an evil laugh cackled from the side of the car.’
      • ‘The woman in the stall next to mine was belly laughing, cackling like a crazed hyena, heehawing at the other woman's fart.’
      • ‘For now, everybody will have to pick out little hints of romance with eagle eyes while I cackle in the background.’
      • ‘Lily cackled with laughter, wiping tears out of her eyes.’
      • ‘Scarlet cackled out loud and broke her embrace.’
      • ‘Her speech was quick yet harsh, and she cackled like a witch.’
      • ‘They pointed at the team on the field and laughed and cackled and rolled around on the floor clutching their stomachs.’
      • ‘First he began to chuckle, then it was a chortle, then he positively began to cackle with glee.’
      • ‘Dan's friends cackled in the background, but he ignored their laughter and jeering comments.’
      laugh loudly, laugh uproariously, guffaw, crow, chortle, chuckle, giggle, tee-hee
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    2. 1.2informal Talk at length without acting on what is said.
      ‘corporate luminaries cackle on about the importance of quality’
      • ‘He cackled on about how things were to be handled while on sea, how to measure the winds strength and just about everything you did not have to know about a ship.’
      • ‘She cackled on about the places we were about to see while with one aged hand she tiredly, and with excruciating slowness, tried to open the envelope that held the key to the first apartment.’
      • ‘He couldn't take anymore as she cackled on about how well she'd done.’


  • 1The raucous clucking cry of a bird such as a hen or a goose.

    ‘ducks have a harsh growling cackle’
    • ‘Since the loud cackle can alert potential predators to a freshly laid egg, evolutionary biologists assume that the call must have a benefit outweighing the risk.’
    • ‘Close by lies a lochan, known locally as the duck pond, a place usually ringing with the cackles of mallards.’
    • ‘They barely brushed together when a bird's high-pitched cackle could be heard from the trees.’
    • ‘Small colonies went to live in the tall ash trees in Rhue and Dawros until finally there was silence and the raucous cackle of the crows of Banada was silenced forever.’
    • ‘The loud cackle of the roosting birds on the trees disturbed her thought.’
    • ‘The way the wind moved through the palm trees, the particular cracks that ran from one end of the street to the other, even the loud cackle of the many pigeons.’
    • ‘The vocalizations of falconids are simple, repeated monosyllabic calls, described variously as cackles, chatters, squawks, croaks, wails and whines.’
    1. 1.1A loud, harsh laugh.
      ‘her delighted cackle’
      • ‘She pulled herself up, and heard a cackle, an evil laugh and cry of pain.’
      • ‘Your cackles filling the room, you just sat there laughing and raving like a lunatic.’
      • ‘Drake laughed in that manic cackle of his and spun on his heel, his dirty trench coat splaying out around him.’
      • ‘The speakers laughed, the reedy cackle of a dying old woman.’
      • ‘The cackles of laughter that followed must have calmed the nerves.’
      • ‘Not far away some woman in a house laughs, a mad cackle of a laugh.’
      • ‘Both of them seemed to be getting rather drunk; every time I looked over, their cackles seemed to be louder, and their motions more exaggerated.’
      • ‘The hair on my neck stood on end as she let out a melodic, screeching cackle of a laugh, like that of a misbehaving little girl.’
      • ‘It sounded more like an obnoxious cackle than a real laugh.’
      • ‘Soon she was laughing manically, her cackles echoing throughout the caves.’
      • ‘I was glad that Betsy could not hear Dolly's cackles of laughter.’
      • ‘When she reached the second room, she suppressed a loud cackle, and moved towards the bed, which had been pushed up against the window.’
      • ‘He bellowed a loud, insane laugh that sounded more like a cackle than a laugh and lifted his goblet, spilling wine down the front of his long, untamed beard.’
      • ‘As I am writing this blog entry I can hear Frankie's loud and distinct cackle.’
      • ‘He's really quiet and doesn't say anything, but when he laughs it's this really loud scary cackle.’
      • ‘I let out a cackle of laughter I could not contain and felt like I was in a movie and all I needed was snow floating around me to make this one of those perfectly clichéd moments.’
      • ‘There was a cackle of hysterical laughter from the phone.’
      • ‘As his conversation picks its way determinedly from subject to subject, his speech is measured and occasionally punctuated by loud cackles of laughter or bursts of anger.’
      • ‘He gives you room off the tee, he lets hillsides guide the ball back to the fairway, he keeps greens open in front, and he tickles your golf fancy just enough to hear the sweet cackle of your laughter over a good time.’
      • ‘The female laugh was more of an annoying cackle.’


  • cut the cackle

    • informal [usually in imperative]Stop talking aimlessly and come to the point.

      ‘cut the cackle and just get us there’
      • ‘I have known judges who have done that without any unfairness, but who have been insistent on cutting the cackle and getting to the essence of it.’
      • ‘Let's cut the cackle and get on with it.’
      • ‘Okay, let's cut the cackle and get down to the important facts: he is not fit.’
      • ‘‘Let's cut the cackle and stop setting up sub-committees and pushing bits of paper around.’’
      • ‘Besides, it comes with a manual the size of a phone directory so let's cut the cackle and get cooking.’
      • ‘On World Aids Day I said let's cut the cackle, let's move with the speed of greased lightning to try and prevent those deaths that can be prevented.’
      • ‘They must be a wow on the social circuit but they really should cut the cackle when it comes to trying to build their business.’
      be quiet, keep quiet, stay quiet, be silent, keep silent, stay silent, hold one's tongue, keep one's lips sealed
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Middle English: probably from Middle Low German kākelen, partly imitative, reinforced by kāke jaw, cheek.