[ tawk-bak ]
/ ˈtɔkˌbæk /

noun Radio and Television.

a communications system enabling those in the studio to hear control-room personnel through a loudspeaker or headphones.

Origin of talk-back

noun use of verb phrase talk back

Definition for talk back (2 of 2)

Origin of talk

1175–1225; Middle English talk(i)en to converse, speak, derivative (with -k suffix) of tale speech, discourse, tale; cognate with Frisian (E dial.) talken


1 See speak.
4, 20 prattle.
34 discourse.
17 colloquy, dialogue, parley, confabulation.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for talk back (1 of 2)

talk back

verb (intr, adverb)

to answer boldly or impudently
NZ to conduct a telephone dialogue for immediate transmission over the air

noun talkback

television radio a system of telephone links enabling spoken directions to be given during the production of a programme
  1. a broadcast telephone dialogue
  2. (as modifier)a talkback show

British Dictionary definitions for talk back (2 of 2)


/ (tɔːk) /



Derived Forms

talkable, adjectivetalkability, nountalker, noun

Word Origin for talk

C13 talkien to talk; related to Old English talu tale, Frisian talken to talk
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 talk back (1 of 2)

talk back

Also, answer back. Reply rudely or impertinently, as in She was always in trouble for talking back, or The teacher won't allow anyone to answer back to her. [Second half of 1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with talk back (2 of 2)


In addition to the idioms beginning with talk

  • talk around
  • talk at
  • talk back
  • talk big
  • talk dirty
  • talk down
  • talk down to
  • talked out
  • talk into
  • talk of the town, the
  • talk out
  • talk out of
  • talk over
  • talk sense
  • talk shop
  • talk someone's arm off
  • talk through one's hat
  • talk to
  • talk turkey
  • talk up

also see:

  • all talk
  • dirty joke (talk dirty)
  • double talk
  • heart to heart (talk)
  • look who's talking
  • money talks
  • now you're talking
  • small talk
  • straight talk
  • sweet talk
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.