Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To talk rapidly, incessantly, and on trivial subjects; jabber.
  • intransitive v. To utter a rapid series of short, inarticulate, speechlike sounds: birds chattering in the trees.
  • intransitive v. To click quickly and repeatedly: Our teeth chattered from the cold.
  • intransitive v. To vibrate or rattle while in operation: A power drill will chatter if the bit is loose.
  • transitive v. To utter in a rapid, usually thoughtless way: chattered a long reply.
  • n. Idle, trivial talk.
  • n. Communication, such as e-mail and cell phone calls, between people who are involved in terrorism or espionage, as monitored by a government agency.
  • n. The sharp, rapid sounds made by some birds and animals.
  • n. A series of quick rattling or clicking sounds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. talk, especially meaningless or unimportant talk
  • n. the sound of talking
  • n. the sound made by a magpie
  • n. an intermittent noise, as from vibration
  • n. in national security, the degree of communication between suspect groups and individuals, used to gauge the degree of expected terrorist activity.
  • v. To talk idly.
  • v. Of teeth, machinery, etc, to make a chattering noise.
  • n. one who chats
  • n. a user of chat rooms

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Sounds like those of a magpie or monkey; idle talk; rapid, thoughtless talk; jabber; prattle.
  • n. Noise made by collision of the teeth, as in shivering.
  • intransitive v. To utter sounds which somewhat resemble language, but are inarticulate and indistinct.
  • intransitive v. To talk idly, carelessly, or with undue rapidity; to jabber; to prate.
  • intransitive v. To make a noise by rapid collisions.
  • transitive v. To utter rapidly, idly, or indistinctly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To utter a succession of quick, shrill, inarticulate sounds, as a magpie or a monkey.
  • To make a rapid rattling noise, as the teeth, from cold or fright.
  • To talk thoughtlessly, idly, or rapidly; jabber; gabble.
  • To argue.
  • To jar, so as to form a series of nicks or notches, as a cutting-tool.
  • To utter as one who or that which chatters: as, to chatter nonsense.
  • n. succession of quick, shrill, inarticulate sounds, especially if discordant or jarring, like those uttered by a magpie or a monkey; rapid and imperfectly articulated utterance.
  • n. The noise made by the teeth striking together repeatedly and rapidly, as under the influence of cold or fright.
  • n. Idle or foolish talk.
  • n. Synonyms See prattle, n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. click repeatedly or uncontrollably
  • n. noisy talk
  • v. cut unevenly with a chattering tool
  • v. speak (about unimportant matters) rapidly and incessantly
  • v. talk socially without exchanging too much information
  • n. the rapid series of noises made by the parts of a machine
  • n. the high-pitched continuing noise made by animals (birds or monkeys)
  • v. make noise as if chattering away

Etymologies

Middle English chateren, of imitative origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English chateren ("to chatter"), of imitative origin. (Wiktionary)
chat +‎ -er (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This chatter is all well and good, but the fact is while the Europeans played well Saturday, better than the Americans, they didn't make up all that much ground.

    U.S., Europe both believe they have momentum on their side

  • BLITZER: Is there increased what they call chatter right now around this anniversary of 9/11 that is causing experts counterterrorism experts in the U.S. government a little bit more heightened concerned?

    CNN Transcript Sep 11, 2007

  • M. O'BRIEN: And you know, of course, the intelligence agencies of the world are constantly dialed into what they call the chatter on this sort of thing.

    CNN Transcript Jul 7, 2005

  • Do you think this is true, that you know, we've heard so much about this term chatter, intelligence picked up through technical methods, that terrorists could actually be faking chatter to get us concerned?

    CNN Transcript Jun 6, 2003

  • ROCKEFELLER: I think lowering or raising of the alerts is the Justice Department function which depends upon what people are - what they call chatter, is that chatter being verified?

    CNN Transcript Apr 12, 2003

  • MILLER: That is precisely what is worrying the government right now, this kind of steady escalation, attack after attack after attack, and also what they call the chatter on the phones and the Internet that the U.S. government has been picking up and monitoring.

    CNN Transcript Jun 17, 2002

  • And this kind of chatter is what those familiar with reality would call crazy.

    Keeping Up with the Wingnuts

  • But what she cannot draw out of all the "chatter" is the invisible's identity and intended target.

    At Risk: Summary and book reviews of At Risk by Stella Rimington.

  • All the Cameron chatter is a bit pie in the sky ... but they say he has begun production on 'something'.

    The Avengers Has a Screenplay | /Film

  • Out of curiosity, doesn't the constant chatter from the GPS unit drive you crazy when the street names change between blocks or it is telling you to you have to turn when the street makes a bend?

    Microsoft Streets and Trips 2010

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  • ... the ghastly chatter of a death without serenity or majesty ... Whitman, Preface 1855

    December 9, 2006