Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

heckle

[hek-uh l] /ˈhɛk əl/
verb (used with object), heckled, heckling.
1.
to harass (a public speaker, performer, etc.) with impertinent questions, gibes, or the like; badger.
2.
hackle1 (def 7).
noun
3.
hackle1 (def 5).
Origin of heckle
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English hekelen, variant of hechelen to comb flax; akin to hackle1, hatchel
Related forms
heckler, noun
Synonyms
1. bait, provoke, needle, hector, hound.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for heckling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Robert bore his heckling, however, with great patience and adroitness.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • It would be worth going to hear her heckling that beast on votes for women.

    Lalage's Lovers George A. Birmingham
  • It was my first experience of heckling, and for the moment I was taken aback.

    A Far Country, Complete Winston Churchill
  • There was no "heckling," no inquisition, nothing but kindness.

  • The Council went on heckling Sonier and he resigned and went to Lausanne.

    The Spell of Switzerland Nathan Haskell Dole
British Dictionary definitions for heckling

heckle

/ˈhɛkəl/
verb
1.
to interrupt (a public speaker, performer, etc) by comments, questions, or taunts
2.
(transitive) Also hackle, hatchel. to comb (hemp or flax)
noun
3.
an instrument for combing flax or hemp
Derived Forms
heckler, noun
Word Origin
C15: Northern and East Anglian form of hackle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for heckling

heckle

n.

"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).

heckle

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for heckle

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for heckling

18
21
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for heckling