Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To converse in an easy, familiar manner; talk lightly and casually.
  • intransitive verb Computers To participate in a synchronous exchange of remarks with one or more people over a computer network.
  • noun An informal, light conversation.
  • noun Computers A synchronous exchange of remarks over a computer network.
  • noun Any of various birds in the families Muscicapidae or Parulidae that have a chattering call, especially the yellow-breasted chat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To converse in a familiar manner; talk without form or ceremony.
  • To talk of; converse about.
  • noun A name of several different birds. Any bird of the family Saxicolidœ, as a stonechat, whinchat, or wheatear. There are many species, chiefly African
  • noun Free, informal speech; familiar conversation.
  • noun Idle talk; chatter.
  • noun Synonyms See prattle, n.
  • noun A cat. See cat.
  • noun A catkin.
  • noun A key or samara of the ash or maple.
  • noun A small potato of inferior quality.
  • noun A small piece of coal.
  • noun In mining, a piece of ore with stone adhering to it; in the plural (also singular), ore in this state (usually called in the United States raggings): a middle product made in the concentration of ore, consisting of particles of gangue containing included grains of valuable mineral.
  • noun plural The tailings or waste product from the concentration of ore.
  • noun A twig; a little stick; a fragment.
  • noun A child.
  • noun Impudence or impudent talk.
  • noun The point or question to be settled.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To talk in a light and familiar manner; to converse without form or ceremony; to gossip.
  • transitive verb obsolete To talk of.
  • noun Light, familiar talk; conversation; gossip.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A bird of the genus Icteria, allied to the warblers, in America. The best known species are the yellow-breasted chat (Icteria viridis), and the long-tailed chat (Icteria longicauda). In Europe the name is given to several birds of the family Saxicolidæ, as the stonechat, and whinchat.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See under Bush.
  • noun A twig, cone, or little branch. See chit.
  • noun (Mining) Small stones with ore.
  • noun [Local.] small potatoes, such as are given to swine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun mining, local use Mining waste from lead and zinc mines.
  • verb To be engaged in informal conversation.
  • verb To talk more than a few words.
  • verb To exchange text or voice messages in real time through a computer network, as if having a face-to-face conversation.
  • noun uncountable Informal conversation.
  • noun A conversation to stop an argument or settle situations.
  • noun An exchange of text or voice messages in real time through a computer network, resembling a face-to-face conversation.
  • noun Any of various small Old World passerine birds in the subfamily Saxicolini that feed on insects.
  • noun UK, slang A louse.
  • noun small potatoes, such as are given to swine
  • noun Alternative form of chaat.

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

  • verb talk socially without exchanging too much information
  • noun songbirds having a chattering call
  • noun an informal conversation
  • noun birds having a chattering call

Etymologies

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

[Middle English chatten, to jabber, alteration of chateren; see chatter.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin unknown.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Abbreviation of chatter.

Examples

Comments

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  • I've learned this word when I was at ballet classes. Pas-de-chat (or "catlike step") was one of my favorite jumps!

    September 28, 2007

  • A "ballet words" list is an excellent idea. Any dancers among us?

    September 28, 2007

  • I'm surprised such a list hasn't already been born. :-)

    September 28, 2007

  • great idea! Let's see if I can remember all the spellings :)

    September 28, 2007

  • On a recent trip to Britain I heard this being used among youths to mean "speak exaggeratedly, brag without justification", and also as a noun for this kind of speech. I suppose it's a natural extension of chat as low-value talk. E.g.

    "Danny said he got 170 out of his dad's car on the A55 by Halkyn, but I reckon he was chatting."

    March 24, 2009

  • This song, from about 1980 I think, includes an example of the 'low-value talk' meaning yarb is referring to. 'I give her some old chat' seems to stand for 'I tell her any old nonsense', in this case as an excuse to leave.

    Shake up at the disco

    And I think I've got a pull

    I ask her lots of questions

    As she hangs on to the wall

    I kiss her for the first time

    And then I take her home

    I'm invited in for coffee

    And I give the dog a bone

    She likes to go to discos

    But she's never on her own

    I said I'll see you later

    And I give her some old chat

    But it's not like that on the TV

    When it's cool for cats

    It's cool for cats - Cool for cats

    - UK Squeeze, 'Cool for Cats'

    March 24, 2009

  • “On a hot summer day, children can be seen riding their bikes around enormous mounds of chat — pulverized rock laced with lead and iron.�?

    The New York Times, Welcome to Our Town. Wish We Weren’t Here., by Susan Saulny, September 13, 2009

    September 16, 2009