Definition of cackle in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Make a harsh, raucous sound when laughing.

    ‘she cackled with laughter’
    with direct speech ‘“Ah ha!” he cackled’
    • ‘For now, everybody will have to pick out little hints of romance with eagle eyes while I cackle in the background.’
    • ‘Grandma Ida was cackling with unbridled laughter, and Jude laughed right along with her.’
    • ‘I would cackle wickedly right now, but I lost my laugh permanently during a bout of whooping-fever in 1907.’
    • ‘They pointed at the team on the field and laughed and cackled and rolled around on the floor clutching their stomachs.’
    • ‘Her speech was quick yet harsh, and she cackled like a witch.’
    • ‘He laughed as she winced, cackled as Christopher sprawled in the dust.’
    • ‘I remember crying my heart out, while he only cackled manically.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dan's friends cackled in the background, but he ignored their laughter and jeering comments.’
    • ‘He had on a sly grin and cackled louder and louder as he made his way closer to her.’
    • ‘First he began to chuckle, then it was a chortle, then he positively began to cackle with glee.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lily cackled with laughter, wiping tears out of her eyes.’
    • ‘Another kick to the chest sent him into another sputtering cough and the men began to cackle and laugh.’
    • ‘Scarlet cackled out loud and broke her embrace.’
    • ‘They cackled, laughed, and hissed with delight as they flew off towards their hide out, going to tell their master of their work.’
    • ‘The class burst with laughter at her response while Sherry and Mandy cackled on evilly, thinking that Livinia was in for it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The interns began cackling with furious laughter.’
    laugh loudly, laugh uproariously, guffaw, crow, chortle, chuckle, giggle, tee-hee
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a bird, especially a hen or goose) give a raucous clucking cry.
      ‘the hen was cackling as if demented’
      • ‘Brown pelicans and frigatebirds with vast wingspans soar on the Leeward thermals, and laughing gulls cackle.’
      • ‘Whistling women and cackling hens will never come to any good ends.’
      • ‘Police radios cackled along with the birds in Central Park.’
      • ‘They waddle around and squawk and cackle and chase each other around the beaches, stumbling all over themselves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘They raised cackling laying hens and pastured fat, spotted steers.’
      • ‘And you'll not hear a pig grunting or a hen cackling in many farmyards today.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To dream you hear hens cackling foretells success in love, and an accumulation of riches by means of female relations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘During the ride, Paul hears geese cackling from a house, and he and Kat make plans to return.’
      • ‘That's why I'm pushing so hard to get side jobs now, while the goose is still cackling.’
      • ‘Some have suggested that hens cackle to announce to roosters their renewed receptivity to mating.’
      squawk, cluck, clack
      View synonyms


  • 1A harsh laugh resembling the cry of a hen or goose.

    ‘her delighted cackle’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She pulled herself up, and heard a cackle, an evil laugh and cry of pain.’
    • ‘Drake laughed in that manic cackle of his and spun on his heel, his dirty trench coat splaying out around him.’
    • ‘The cackles of laughter that followed must have calmed the nerves.’
    • ‘I was glad that Betsy could not hear Dolly's cackles of laughter.’
    • ‘Your cackles filling the room, you just sat there laughing and raving like a lunatic.’
    • ‘When she reached the second room, she suppressed a loud cackle, and moved towards the bed, which had been pushed up against the window.’
    • ‘The speakers laughed, the reedy cackle of a dying old woman.’
    • ‘He's really quiet and doesn't say anything, but when he laughs it's this really loud scary cackle.’
    • ‘There was a cackle of hysterical laughter from the phone.’
    • ‘Not far away some woman in a house laughs, a mad cackle of a laugh.’
    • ‘As I am writing this blog entry I can hear Frankie's loud and distinct cackle.’
    • ‘The female laugh was more of an annoying cackle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Soon she was laughing manically, her cackles echoing throughout the caves.’
    • ‘It sounded more like an obnoxious cackle than a real laugh.’
    • ‘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.’
    rasp, wheeze, gasp, bark, hack, cough
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The raucous clucking cry of a bird such as a hen or a goose.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The vocalizations of falconids are simple, repeated monosyllabic calls, described variously as cackles, chatters, squawks, croaks, wails and whines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They barely brushed together when a bird's high-pitched cackle could be heard from the trees.’
      • ‘The loud cackle of the roosting birds on the trees disturbed her thought.’
      • ‘Close by lies a lochan, known locally as the duck pond, a place usually ringing with the cackles of mallards.’
      screech, squeal, shriek, scream, croak, crow, caw, cluck, clack, cackle, hoot, cry, call
      View synonyms


Middle English: probably from Middle Low German kākelen, partly imitative, reinforced by kāke ‘jaw, cheek’.