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Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English chateren, from earlier cheteren, chiteren (to twitter, chatter, jabber), of imitative origin. Compare West Frisian tsjotterje (to chatter), Dutch schateren (chatter), schetteren, Dutch koeteren (jabber), dialectal German kaudern (to gobble (like a turkey)), Danish kvidre (to twitter, chirp).


chatter (usually uncountable, plural chatters)

  1. Talk, especially meaningless or unimportant talk.
    Synonyms: chattering, chatting, nattering; see also Thesaurus:chatter
  2. The sound of talking.
  3. The vocalisations of a Eurasian magpie, Pica pica.
  4. The vocalisations of various birds or other animals.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 117:
      The hare cried and complained of the terrible February cold and the disgusting chatter of the owls[.]
    • 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World, page 114:
      At dawn and at sunset the howler monkeys screamed together and the parakeets broke into shrill chatter, but during the hot hours of the day only the full drone of insects, like the beat of a distant surf, filled the ear, while nothing moved amid the solemn vistas of stupendous trunks, fading away into the darkness which held us in.
    • 2016, Cornelia F. Mutel, A Sugar Creek Chronicle (page 41)
      The wind rose as the earth darkened, so that fading chatters of woodland animals were countered by the strengthening sounds of waving trees []
  5. An intermittent noise, as from vibration.
    Proper brake adjustment will help to reduce the chatter.
  6. (uncountable) In national security, the degree of communication between suspect groups and individuals, used to gauge the degree of expected terrorist activity.
    The NSA is concerned about increased chatter between known terror groups.
  7. (uncountable) The situation where a drill or similar tool vibrates and tears the material rather than cutting it cleanly.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


chatter (third-person singular simple present chatters, present participle chattering, simple past and past participle chattered)

  1. (intransitive) To talk idly.
    Synonyms: chat, natter
    They knitted and chattered the whole time.
  2. (intransitive) Of teeth, machinery, etc, to make a noise by rapid collisions.
    Synonyms: clatter, knock, (said of an engine) pink
    He was so cold that his teeth were chattering.
  3. To utter sounds which somewhat resemble language, but are inarticulate and indistinct.

Etymology 2Edit

chat +‎ -er


chatter (plural chatters)

  1. One who chats.
  2. (Internet) A user of chat rooms.
    • 2013, Michael K. Sullivan, Sexual Minorities, page 148:
      During the chat sessions, two outreach team members would engage in a conversation about the topic chosen for that event in the main chat room and entice other chatters to join in.

Further readingEdit