verb (used without object)

to engage in or have a propensity for small talk.

Origin of small-talk

First recorded in 1780–90

small talk


light conversation; chitchat.

Origin of small talk

First recorded in 1745–55

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

Examples from the Web for small-talk

Historical Examples of small-talk

  • A crisis was expected—but Lady Harriet's small-talk did not suffer.

    Double Harness

    Anthony Hope

  • All this small-talk almost vexed me more than the content it gave.

    The Maid of Sker

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore

  • Letitia tried to include me in the small-talk, but she did not succeed.

  • But I was still "Sir" to him and he hardly "Chummy" to me, and our small-talk was quite small.

    A Case in Camera

    Oliver Onions

  • Does she turn you if you have failed to learn your small-talk correctly?

British Dictionary definitions for small-talk

small talk


light conversation for social occasions
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

Idioms and Phrases with small-talk

small talk

Casual or trivial conversation, chitchat, as in We stood around making small talk until the guest of honor arrived. The small in this expression alludes to unimportant subjects of conversation, as opposed to serious or weighty ones. [Mid-1700s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.