Definition of chatter in US English:

chatter

verb

[no object]
  • 1Talk rapidly or incessantly about trivial matters.

    ‘the kids chattered and splashed at the edge of the lagoon’
    • ‘She felt odd to be intercepted like this in a place she has walked for years, so she chattered on, doing her best to sound like a ditzy blonde, going on about how her camera is useless with the new computer she got.’
    • ‘The door into the lobby opened again, the sound of voices chattering excitedly.’
    • ‘And here come some more kids chattering down the road.’
    • ‘The children were chattering but the sounds made no sense to her.’
    • ‘She was perfectly happy to carry my half of the conversation for me as she chattered incessantly about things that were far too pointless to consider inane.’
    • ‘As it was, she chattered the whole trip, distracting both Adam and Clara from their thoughts.’
    • ‘There were a couple of students outside, playing a quick game, or chattering before school started, and she couched down, and watched them.’
    • ‘Angie chattered her way through my home, commenting on how beautiful things were and oh wasn't that simply enormous, Chrissy and who was that bust of.’
    • ‘We'd had our bit of excitement and the kids were busy chattering about what had happened as they walked down the halls.’
    • ‘The bell finally sounded as each of the students chattered excitedly with their friends over the project.’
    • ‘We chattered the whole while, discussing clothes and news and how I knew French.’
    • ‘Water falls were alive with the crashing of water on rock, rivers trickled, birds sang, people chattered, lava boiled and fires crackled.’
    • ‘Innocent bystanders received another eye roll as I let myself be swept down the hallway, Julia chattering the whole way.’
    • ‘The stylist chattered incessantly about weddings - her sisters, her own, my upcoming.’
    • ‘The bus pulled away from the curb, and kids still chattered excitedly around me.’
    • ‘Fisk, too, recalled Rose coming to the plate late in the game and chattering the whole time about the game's momentous twists and turns.’
    • ‘He watches birds and squirrels, and he chatters as they dart from ground to branches, tree to tree.’
    • ‘Juniors and seniors alike chattered incessantly and heatedly as they exited the hall a few weeks later.’
    • ‘Many of them chattered rapidly and pointed at Bob.’
    • ‘As they chattered a small striped viper squirmed on top of the map with tongue flickering from open fangs.’
    • ‘I've been riding the bus long enough to quickly identify the ones who trap you and then chatter the whole way into downtown.’
    • ‘Gone were the rucksacked school kids, chattering and chasing around the old ladies who hobbled along almost in slow motion with yappy dogs and hair in a bun and little trolleys full of bread.’
    • ‘He agreed to leave then, but he only wandered around the perimeter of the main grassy circle, still chattering a bit.’
    talk, gossip, chitter-chatter, speak, converse, have a conversation, engage in conversation, tittle-tattle, prattle, jabber, jibber-jabber, babble, prate, go on, run on
    chat, talk, gossip, chitter-chatter, speak, converse, have a conversation, engage in conversation, tittle-tattle, prattle, jabber, jibber-jabber, babble, prate, go on, run on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a bird, monkey, or machine) make a series of quick high-pitched sounds.
      • ‘The monkey chattered fearfully and quickly jumped back into the midst of the tree leaves.’
      • ‘Around her, birds chattered happily to each other, and the early morning sounds of traffic could be faintly heard in the distance.’
      • ‘The monkeys cringed and chattered uncomfortably.’
      • ‘What does it mean when a squirrel chatters at me?’
      • ‘The pump chattered for a few moments, then settled down to a deeper, steady throbbing.’
      • ‘A hummingbird buzzed past our heads, and above, in a magnolia tree, the hill's resident flock of wild parrots clucked and chattered.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was awoken early next morning by the birds that began to sing and chatter in the forest.’
      • ‘In the marshland may the fish and birds chatter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Birds twittered merrily as they fluttered by and squirrels chattered as they raced up and down the limbs gathering nuts.’
      • ‘The train clinked and chattered all night long.’
      • ‘Birds sang amidst their leaves, while squirrels chattered to one another.’
      • ‘Flocks of parrots chattered at sunset from tangles of mangrove.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They chattered in happy, squeaking voices, beating their tiny wings rapidly as they somersaulted in mid-air.’
      • ‘General Anderson's machine gun chattered as it shot down two more bad guys.’
      • ‘Some of the animals chattered a moment and then went on their way, while others stayed to scamper or fly around the two friends.’
      • ‘The squirrel began to squeak and chatter at the forest entity.’
      trill, sing, chirp, chirrup, chirr, cheep, twitter, tweet, whistle, chatter, squeak, pipe, peep
      trill, trilling, song, birdsong, cry, warbling, chirp, chirping, chirrup, chirruping, chirr, chirring, cheep, cheeping, twitter, twittering, tweet, tweeting, whistle, whistling, chatter, chattering, squeak, squeaking, pipe, piping, peep, peeping, call, calling
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of a person's teeth) click repeatedly together from cold or fear.
      • ‘The child's teeth soon chattered - not used to the harsh cold of the sands - and shivered.’
      • ‘Rob managed to get his shivering somewhat under control, although his teeth were still chattering from the cold water.’
      • ‘Outside it was cold and my teeth chattered as I breathed in the fresh air.’
      • ‘That night was one of the few times I've been so cold my teeth actually chattered.’
      • ‘The child was shaking now from the cold, her teeth chattered making her words even less understandable.’
      • ‘Teeth chattered as they boarded the coach which was to transport them to London for yet another fight with their landlords.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her teeth make a higher-pitched sound than a human's would when they chatter, but they shiver the same way.’
      • ‘Dori's teeth were chattering with cold, and Roger gave up with a sigh.’
      • ‘By the time Ian had returned, I had developed violent tremors, my teeth chattering from the cold.’
      • ‘Her teeth chattered together and her face was pale from the cold.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jack came awake with a start, teeth chattering madly from the cold.’
      • ‘The rain turned from warm and pleasurable to cold and assaulting, and my teeth chattered, my words stammered, because of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His teeth chattered together so violently that he feared they would break.’
      • ‘Sitting back on the leather seats Kim's teeth chattered from the cold she felt inside.’
      • ‘I nodded, but my teeth still chattered together slightly.’

noun

  • 1Incessant trivial talk.

    ‘a stream of idle chatter’
    • ‘There are so many distractions, not least of which is the incessant chatter of my own mind.’
    • ‘The rest of the night was filled with idle chatter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘Excuse us please,’ he said as they walked off and more chatter filled the room.’
    • ‘For once Parker appears uninterested in idle chatter.’
    • ‘I gratefully let my smile fade as I tried to block out their incessant chatter.’
    • ‘Slowly that chatter dies down, but I still feel Kyle's questioning looks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This simple message cuts through the trivial election chatter of the main parties that is boring everyone senseless.’
    • ‘There was more chatter as they figured out a quick seating arrangement.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No matter what he did, he couldn't block the incessant chatter.’
    • ‘He was a rather taciturn individual who discouraged chatter in the theatre.’
    • ‘A similar need to divert the audience at every instant seems to motivate the film's incessant stream of chatter.’
    • ‘During this time, chatter had begun to erupt around the table.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While chatter had been prominent the first few hours of the ride, in the last bit they had sunk into a peaceful silence.’
    • ‘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.’
    chat, talk, gossip, chit-chat, chitter-chatter, patter, jabbering, jabber, prattling, prattle, babbling, babble, tittle-tattle, tattle, blathering, blather, blethering, blether, rambling, gibbering
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Electronic 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’
      • ‘Shortly thereafter, we started hearing chatter over all the radio frequencies.’
      • ‘We have no imminent threat. We have a lot of chatter out there, but no imminent threat of a biological or chemical attack.’
      • ‘I think it's important to note that, yes, they have seen an uptick in chatter among these groups.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the past year, federal agents have seen an increase in chatter from an array of domestic extremist groups.’
      • ‘It is understood that the threat state was raised because of the increases in "terrorist chatter" picked up by GCHQ in the last month.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The United States also has been privy to increased chatter regarding possible terror attacks.’
      • ‘There's a lot of intelligence chatter about possible threats.’
      • ‘Intelligence officials are now trying to determine who is the next target, and are sifting through chatter in search of a genuine threat.’
      • ‘Britain, France and Germany may be areas of greatest concern as a result of some of this chatter.’
  • 2A series of quick high-pitched sounds.

    ‘the chatter of a typewriter’
    • ‘I could hear its chatter, a sound unlike anything one would expect from so majestic and powerful a bird.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Apart that is from the corridor to the toilets where a tape plays farmyard noises and birds' chatter.’
    • ‘Now when dusk has settled on the camp again we can hear starling chatter.’
    • ‘The constant shrilling chatter from the parrots and the growling sounds of the other animals would drive even me insane.’
    • ‘This shape is musical: along with typing in a nickname of her choice, each chatter is attributed a sound.’
    • ‘The constant chatter coming from the television didn't seem to faze Andrea that night.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once you're inside the busy airspace with constant radio chatter and direction, you can't be too effusive with your brief.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The song incorporates plenty of space effects; beeps, bleeps, buzzes and radio chatter.’
    • ‘The silence (other than the constant chatter of the television) is deadly.’
    1. 2.1 Undesirable 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.’

Phrases

  • the chattering classes

    • derogatory Educated people, especially those in academic, artistic, or media circles.

      • ‘Some call them the chattering classes, I call them the middle class in denial.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This preoccupation with what the neighbours think is a classic example of the middle class morality that the chattering classes claim to despise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Not a cosy coterie of the chattering classes, but people who represent a broad spectrum of opinion.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

Middle English: imitative.

Pronunciation

chatter

/ˈtʃædər//ˈCHadər/