verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to utter rapidly or purposelessly.
to cause to chatter, as the teeth from cold.


Origin of chatter

1200–50; Middle English chateren; imitative
Related formschat·ter·ing·ly, adverbchat·ter·y, adjectiveout·chat·ter, verb (used with object)un·chat·ter·ing, adjective

Synonyms for chatter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chattering

Contemporary Examples of chattering

Historical Examples of chattering

  • A chattering and hurrying of people could be heard as an undertone.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Every road teemed with a chattering crowd of men and boys afoot and on horses.

  • By the time they entered Tiverton Street, the vestry was full of chattering groups.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • Now, here am I, chattering away as if I were paid for talking instead of writing.

  • It was a relief to find herself among a group of chattering people.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

British Dictionary definitions for chattering



to speak (about unimportant matters) rapidly and incessantly; prattle
(intr) (of birds, monkeys, etc) to make rapid repetitive high-pitched noises resembling human speech
(intr) (of the teeth) to click together rapidly through cold or fear
(intr) to make rapid intermittent contact with a component, as in machining, causing irregular cutting


idle or foolish talk; gossip
the high-pitched repetitive noise made by a bird, monkey, etc
the rattling of objects, such as parts of a machine
Also called: chatter mark the undulating pattern of marks in a machined surface from the vibration of the tool or workpiece
Derived Formschattery, adjective

Word Origin for chatter

C13: of imitative origin
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

Word Origin and History for chattering



mid-13c., originally of birds, from chatter (v.).



early 13c., chateren "to twitter, gossip," earlier cheateren, chiteren, of echoic origin. Cf. Dutch koeteren "jabber," Danish kvidre "twitter, chirp." Related: Chattered; chattering. Phrase chattering class in use by 1893, with a reference perhaps from 1843:

Such was the most interesting side of the fatal event to that idle chattering class of London life to whom the collision of heaven and earth were important only as affording matter for "news!" [Catherine Grace F. Gore ("Mrs. Gore"), "The Banker's Wife," 1843]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper