Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To converse in an easy, familiar manner; talk lightly and casually.
  • intransitive v. Computer Science To participate in a synchronous exchange of remarks with one or more people over a computer network.
  • n. An informal, light conversation.
  • n. Computer Science A synchronous exchange of remarks over a computer network.
  • n. Any of several birds known for their chattering call, as of the genera Saxicola or Icteria.
  • chat up To engage (someone) in light, casual talk: "He would be . . . chatting up folks from Kansas” ( Vanity Fair).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To talk in a light and familiar manner; to converse without form or ceremony; to gossip.
  • transitive v. To talk of.
  • n. Light, familiar talk; conversation; gossip.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A twig, cone, or little branch. See chit.
  • n. Small stones with ore.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To converse in a familiar manner; talk without form or ceremony.
  • To talk of; converse about.
  • n. Free, informal speech; familiar conversation.
  • n. Idle talk; chatter.
  • n. Synonyms See prattle, n.
  • n. A name of several different birds. Any bird of the family Saxicolidœ, as a stonechat, whinchat, or wheatear. There are many species, chiefly African
  • n. A cat. See cat.
  • n. A catkin.
  • n. A key or samara of the ash or maple.
  • n. A twig; a little stick; a fragment.
  • n. A child.
  • n. Impudence or impudent talk.
  • n. The point or question to be settled.
  • n. A small potato of inferior quality.
  • n. A small piece of coal.
  • n. 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.
  • n. plural The tailings or waste product from the concentration of ore.

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

  • v. talk socially without exchanging too much information
  • n. songbirds having a chattering call
  • n. an informal conversation
  • n. birds having a chattering call

Etymologies

Middle English chatten, to jabber, alteration of chateren; see chatter.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Abbreviation of chatter. (Wiktionary)
Origin unknown. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • “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

  • 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 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

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

    September 28, 2007

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

    September 28, 2007

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

    September 28, 2007

  • 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