- 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 heckler
But then in 2011 he weaponized comedy, slicing and dicing his political rivals in the same way a comedian deals with a heckler.Obama Will Weaponize Comedy at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
May 2, 2014
Glaser says attacking the audience is off-limits, though she did call a heckler a “c--t” once.What Women Comedians Want: Yael Kohen’s ‘We Killed’
October 14, 2012
“You can hold your own rally,” the president told the heckler.Daily Caller Reporter, Wilson’s ‘You Lie!’ & More Obama Hecklers (VIDEO)
June 15, 2012
He got a huge reaction, which could not have discouraged him from taking on a heckler at a Meg Whitman event a few days later.The One Who Got Away
October 5, 2011
There were early reports that the heckler was a Howard Stern staffer.Weiner’s Last Words
June 16, 2011
I was an uncommon grand hand at the bools mysel, and could throw the ba as far as Robbie King the heckler—ye mind, Tammie?Merkland
He was a stout man dressed in a drab jacket and had the appearance of a heckler.
In 1654 the spire was destroyed by lightning; the skilful architect Heckler was obliged to rebuild it sixty five feet high.
He was a stout man, dressed in a dark jacket, and had the appearance of a heckler.The Great North Road: London to York
Charles G. Harper
Then the bearded attorney, whose fame was secure as a heckler of witnesses, rose dramatically from his chair.The Tempering
Charles Neville Buck
- 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 heckler
agent noun from heckle (v.); mid-15c., from late 13c., as a surname (Will. le Hekelere). Modern sense of "one from the audience who taunts a public speaker" is from 1885. Fem. form hekelstere is attested from c.1500.
"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).
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.