Definition of chatter in English:



  • 1 Talk informally about unimportant matters.

    ‘she was chattering about her holiday’
    • ‘Water falls were alive with the crashing of water on rock, rivers trickled, birds sang, people chattered, lava boiled and fires crackled.’
    • ‘There were a couple of students outside, playing a quick game, or chattering before school started, and she couched down, and watched them.’
    • ‘The door into the lobby opened again, the sound of voices chattering excitedly.’
    1. 1.1(of a bird, monkey, or machine) make a series of short, quick high-pitched sounds.
      ‘parrots chattered in the sunlight’
      • ‘General Anderson's machine gun chattered as it shot down two more bad guys.’
      • ‘Birds twittered merrily as they fluttered by and squirrels chattered as they raced up and down the limbs gathering nuts.’
      • ‘The monkey chattered fearfully and quickly jumped back into the midst of the tree leaves.’
      • ‘Flocks of parrots chattered at sunset from tangles of mangrove.’
      • ‘The pump chattered for a few moments, then settled down to a deeper, steady throbbing.’
      • ‘The squirrel began to squeak and chatter at the forest entity.’
      • ‘What does it mean when a squirrel chatters at me?’
      • ‘Birds sang amidst their leaves, while squirrels chattered to one another.’
      • ‘In the marshland may the fish and birds chatter.’
      • ‘He was awoken early next morning by the birds that began to sing and chatter in the forest.’
      • ‘Some of the animals chattered a moment and then went on their way, while others stayed to scamper or fly around the two friends.’
      • ‘Around her, birds chattered happily to each other, and the early morning sounds of traffic could be faintly heard in the distance.’
      • ‘The squirrels themselves chatter to each other as they rustle through the limbs of the tree, making the leaves of the tree scratch against the window.’
      • ‘A hummingbird buzzed past our heads, and above, in a magnolia tree, the hill's resident flock of wild parrots clucked and chattered.’
      • ‘They chattered in happy, squeaking voices, beating their tiny wings rapidly as they somersaulted in mid-air.’
      • ‘In a cage across the room, I noticed canaries that chattered incessantly to each other and seemed to sing at my presence in protest of my invading their territory.’
      • ‘The train clinked and chattered all night long.’
      • ‘The monkeys cringed and chattered uncomfortably.’
      • ‘As a pet, I can recommend an African Grey parrot, as long as you like your pet bird to chatter away to you all day.’
      • ‘On start-up and idle, the engine chatters quite a bit but this soon soothens down on running.’
      trill, sing, chirp, chirrup, chirr, cheep, twitter, tweet, whistle, squeak, pipe, peep
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(of a person's teeth) click repeatedly together from cold or fear.
      ‘his teeth were chattering’
      • ‘Sitting back on the leather seats Kim's teeth chattered from the cold she felt inside.’
      • ‘She noticed that her teeth chattered and that her whole body was nearly numb with cold, but she tried hard not to let it show.’
      • ‘The child was shaking now from the cold, her teeth chattered making her words even less understandable.’
      • ‘Rob managed to get his shivering somewhat under control, although his teeth were still chattering from the cold water.’
      • ‘By the time Ian had returned, I had developed violent tremors, my teeth chattering from the cold.’
      • ‘When she surfaced, she gave his laughing form the best glare she could muster while her body shook uncontrollably from the cold and her teeth chattered loudly.’
      • ‘The rain turned from warm and pleasurable to cold and assaulting, and my teeth chattered, my words stammered, because of it.’
      • ‘The child's teeth soon chattered - not used to the harsh cold of the sands - and shivered.’
      • ‘Her teeth make a higher-pitched sound than a human's would when they chatter, but they shiver the same way.’
      • ‘Outside it was cold and my teeth chattered as I breathed in the fresh air.’
      • ‘His teeth chattered together so violently that he feared they would break.’
      • ‘On top of her obviously poor nutrition, she was shivering so violently that her teeth chattered together.’
      • ‘She was quite cold and her teeth chattered as she spoke.’
      • ‘Her teeth chattered together and her face was pale from the cold.’
      • ‘That night was one of the few times I've been so cold my teeth actually chattered.’
      • ‘Teeth chattered as they boarded the coach which was to transport them to London for yet another fight with their landlords.’
      • ‘In summer, we went swimming in the Barrow every day, and swam until we were blue with the cold, our teeth chattering as we practised for competitions.’
      • ‘Jack came awake with a start, teeth chattering madly from the cold.’
      • ‘I nodded, but my teeth still chattered together slightly.’
      • ‘Dori's teeth were chattering with cold, and Roger gave up with a sigh.’


  • 1Informal talk.

    ‘he was full of inconsequential but amusing chatter’
    • ‘For once Parker appears uninterested in idle chatter.’
    • ‘She'd kept up an almost incessant stream of chatter and commentary during the whole of the train ride from London, and then in the taxi to the dock.’
    • ‘This simple message cuts through the trivial election chatter of the main parties that is boring everyone senseless.’
    • ‘Everyone was already there when I arrived, or so I judged from the sounds of laughter and chatter I heard as I rang the doorbell.’
    • ‘I made idle chatter with Jeremy to take my mind off it.’
    • ‘‘Excuse us please,’ he said as they walked off and more chatter filled the room.’
    • ‘A similar need to divert the audience at every instant seems to motivate the film's incessant stream of chatter.’
    • ‘No matter what he did, he couldn't block the incessant chatter.’
    • ‘During this time, chatter had begun to erupt around the table.’
    • ‘The chatter was deafening as people mingled and chatted and circulated much to the bemusement of the staff as they tried to deliver food to the appropriate peripatetic diners.’
    • ‘Slowly that chatter dies down, but I still feel Kyle's questioning looks.’
    • ‘I heard little of the nervous chatter the boys made while we returned to the Academy's inner grounds; in my mind, I was making a list.’
    • ‘The rest of the night was filled with idle chatter.’
    • ‘There was more chatter as they figured out a quick seating arrangement.’
    • ‘I gratefully let my smile fade as I tried to block out their incessant chatter.’
    • ‘While chatter had been prominent the first few hours of the ride, in the last bit they had sunk into a peaceful silence.’
    • ‘The unfamiliar sound of violins, oboes etc did have a galvanising effect on the quality of bath time chatter, though unfortunately only in the short term.’
    • ‘There are so many distractions, not least of which is the incessant chatter of my own mind.’
    • ‘He was a rather taciturn individual who discouraged chatter in the theatre.’
    • ‘Hopefully he'll be able to put up with me (and chatter from two little kids who will want his full attention) long enough to help me.’
    chat, talk, gossip, chit-chat, chitter-chatter, patter, jabbering, jabber, prattling, prattle, babbling, babble, tittle-tattle, tattle, blathering, blather, blethering, blether, rambling, gibbering
    conversation, dialogue, discourse
    gab, gabber, yak, yackety-yak, yabbering, yammering, yattering, yapping, jawing, chewing the fat, chewing the rag, confab
    chinwagging, nattering, wittering, waffling, waffle, chuntering, rabbiting on
    clack, claver, twaddle, twattle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Electronic or radio communication, especially between individuals being monitored by a government agency as a result of suspected involvement in terrorist activity or espionage.
      ‘officials refused to comment on a news report that the patrols were resumed due to increased Internet chatter’
      • ‘There's a lot of intelligence chatter about possible threats.’
      • ‘Officials warned of chatter hinting at further strikes, as the homeland security secretary announced US-bound passengers would see increased airport security screening and armed marshals on flights.’
      • ‘Shortly thereafter, we started hearing chatter over all the radio frequencies.’
      • ‘It is understood that the threat state was raised because of the increases in "terrorist chatter" picked up by GCHQ in the last month.’
      • ‘The United States also has been privy to increased chatter regarding possible terror attacks.’
      • ‘In the past year, federal agents have seen an increase in chatter from an array of domestic extremist groups.’
      • ‘We have no imminent threat. We have a lot of chatter out there, but no imminent threat of a biological or chemical attack.’
      • ‘Police are monitoring Internet chatter for the possibility that anarchists and radical environmentalists could be planning significant disruptions this week.’
      • ‘At a maritime industry meeting in Southern California, the FBI warned of increased terrorist chatter.’
      • ‘Britain, France and Germany may be areas of greatest concern as a result of some of this chatter.’
      • ‘Intelligence officials are now trying to determine who is the next target, and are sifting through chatter in search of a genuine threat.’
      • ‘I think it's important to note that, yes, they have seen an uptick in chatter among these groups.’
  • 2A series of short, quick high-pitched sounds.

    ‘the starlings' constant chatter’
    • ‘The constant shrilling chatter from the parrots and the growling sounds of the other animals would drive even me insane.’
    • ‘I slow my pace as we walk on deeper into the woods where the ghost song is lost by the constant chatter of the squirrels and the chirping of the birds.’
    • ‘This shape is musical: along with typing in a nickname of her choice, each chatter is attributed a sound.’
    • ‘There's no noise from the street, and rarely a breeze, so their strange noises and chatter ping off the stone walls and right through my window.’
    • ‘They walked in silence for a while, the only sound was the occasional chatter of a squirrel as they passed too close to its nest and the muffled roar of the river off to their right.’
    • ‘The constant chatter coming from the television didn't seem to faze Andrea that night.’
    • ‘I could hear its chatter, a sound unlike anything one would expect from so majestic and powerful a bird.’
    • ‘Apart that is from the corridor to the toilets where a tape plays farmyard noises and birds' chatter.’
    • ‘The song incorporates plenty of space effects; beeps, bleeps, buzzes and radio chatter.’
    • ‘Once you're inside the busy airspace with constant radio chatter and direction, you can't be too effusive with your brief.’
    • ‘Suddenly, I heard the high-pitched chatter of a bat straight over my head.’
    • ‘I awoke in the real dead of night to the sounds of muffled chatter and hurried movements both in front and behind.’
    • ‘The silence (other than the constant chatter of the television) is deadly.’
    • ‘Now when dusk has settled on the camp again we can hear starling chatter.’
    1. 2.1Undesirable vibration in a mechanism.
      ‘the wipers should operate without chatter’
      • ‘The direct-drive AC spindle eliminates the use of gears or belts to drive the spindle and reduces vibration and chatter.’


  • the chattering classes

    • derogatory Intellectual or artistic people considered as a social group given to the expression of liberal opinions.

      ‘the politically correct voice of the chattering classes’
      • ‘This preoccupation with what the neighbours think is a classic example of the middle class morality that the chattering classes claim to despise.’
      • ‘The west Midlands campaign, limited so far to the Birmingham elite and chattering classes, has been partly fuelled by a sense that north Wales is doing well out of devolution.’
      • ‘Some call them the chattering classes, I call them the middle class in denial.’
      • ‘Janacek had been ignored throughout his life by the Prague chattering classes as a country hick and no more than a workmanlike composer, and they weren't going to change their minds after one triumph.’
      • ‘But maybe class is not an issue for them because they are both now so firmly part of that powerful caste, the chattering classes.’
      • ‘The properties have certainly been designed with the chattering classes in mind - practically every single room in every property is an exercise in name-dropping.’
      • ‘Generally most of us don't think much of the chattering classes because we remember them as runny nose kids who couldn't find the right end of the broom when something practical like sweeping the steps had to be done.’
      • ‘Not a cosy coterie of the chattering classes, but people who represent a broad spectrum of opinion.’
      • ‘Speaking in his shiny new office, Kehoe says he is confident that the chattering classes of Dublin will be ‘knocked sideways’ by the strength of his party's showing.’
      • ‘Now what would otherwise have been a uninviting troglodytic restaurant is transformed into what promises to become a popular meeting place for the city's chattering classes.’


Middle English: imitative.