- to harass (a public speaker, performer, etc.) with impertinent questions, gibes, or the like; badger.
- hackle1(def 7).
Origin of heckle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for heckle
Known on stage for his confrontational style, Gelman heckles the audience as much as they heckle him.Brett Gelman Has Dinner with Your Favorite TV Sidekicks
April 24, 2014
We go to the ball park, we heckle a pitcher who throws one bad pitch.Eliot Spitzer Mobbed by Press, Heckled at First Campaign Stop
July 9, 2013
Banners were waved and speakers were both cheered and jeered—opponents commonly turned up to heckle.The Lessons of the British Women’s Fight for the Vote
June 13, 2012
A group of anti-monarchy protestors gathered in Montreal to heckle the young royals, holding up signs reading “Royal Parasites.”Will and Kate’s Excellent Adventure
The Daily Beast Video
July 8, 2011
Please torment, harass, vex, heckle, and badger those two blockheads until they honor their commitments to my defense fund.John Grisham's Debut Short Story
October 26, 2009
Had the Centralia crowd hired them to heckle the new pitcher?Mystery Wings
Roy J. Snell
"Hout, tout," quoth the wife, and made the heckle flee at it.More English Fairy Tales
I was going to heckle him, when he explained—and with what so far unknown deference, in him, to one's bewilderment!The Romantic Lady
But then Dalrymple had not been there to heckle and insult his superior; he was gone nobody knew where.My Lord Duke
E. W. Hornung
At first there was a disposition to interrupt, to heckle, but it grew fainter and soon gave way to complete silence.Vera
Elisabeth von Arnim
- to interrupt (a public speaker, performer, etc) by comments, questions, or taunts
- Also: hackle, hatchel (tr) to comb (hemp or flax)
- an instrument for combing flax or hemp
Word Origin and History for heckle
early 14c., "to comb (flax or hemp) with a heckle;" from heckle (n.) or from related Middle Dutch hekelen. Figurative meaning "to question severely in a bid to uncover weakness" is from late 18c. "Long applied in Scotland to the public questioning of parliamentary candidates" [OED]. Related: Heckled; heckling.
"flax comb," c.1300, hechel, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *hecel or a cognate Germanic word (cf. Middle High German hechel, Middle Dutch hekel), from Proto-Germanic *hakila-, from PIE *keg- "hook, tooth" (see hook).