Definition of heckle in English:
- The graduates and their guests, numbering about 60,000, were informed that anyone protesting or heckling the speakers could be subject to arrest and expulsion from the stadium.
- I'm never one who likes seeing speakers heckled or booed at college commencement speeches, pretty much no matter who they are.
- At the full council meeting on October 20, a packed public gallery heckled Labour councillors and cheered opposition members throughout the two-hour debate on the future of the pool and school.
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- The comment raised heckles and embarrassed the forum's organizers.
- She commented on it, of course, but it was a polite heckle, and very well-meaning - as were her comments about the English weather, her high heels and the quaint English accents.
- The sight of royal blue encouraged many snide remarks from staff and customers alike; though unfortunately this was nothing compared to the unsavoury heckles in regards to my facial decoration.
Middle English (in sense 2 of the verb): from heckle 'flax comb', a northern and eastern form of hackle. The sense 'interrupt (a public speaker) with aggressive comments' arose in the mid 17th century; for the development in sense, compare with tease.
hackle from (Late Middle English):
Hackles are the long feathers on the neck of a fighting cock or the hairs on the top of a dog's neck, which stand up when the animal is aggressive or excited. So if you make someone's hackles rise you make them angry or indignant. In the Middle Ages a hackle or heckle was also an instrument with parallel steel pins used to prepare flax for spinning by splitting the fibres and pulling them straight. This vigorous action was transferred to giving speakers an equally hard time or heckling them in the early 19th century. The word goes back to an ancient root related to hook. See also tease
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