- 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 heckling
The Tokyo Police Department are investigating whether there is any connection to the egg assault and his heckling.How Sexism Could Bring Down Japan’s Government
Angela Erika Kubo, Jake Adelstein
June 25, 2014
They did wrong, and whether you call that wrong "heckling" or something else does not alter its wrongness.
Second - (This was a reaction to the parsing of the word "heckling") And this - well that one is self-explanatory.
"Heckling" was not the exact word to describe what happened in this case, and I made a mistake in repeating it.
Whether you call it "heckling" or something else, it's just wrong.
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
There was no "heckling," no inquisition, nothing but kindness.Glimpses into the Abyss
The Council went on heckling Sonier and he resigned and went to Lausanne.The Spell of Switzerland
Nathan Haskell Dole
- 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 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).
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.