heckle


verb (used with object), heck·led, heck·ling.

  1. to harass (a public speaker, performer, etc.) with impertinent questions, gibes, or the like; badger.
  2. hackle1(def 7).

noun

  1. hackle1(def 5).

verb

  1. to interrupt (a public speaker, performer, etc) by comments, questions, or taunts
  2. Also: hackle, hatchel (tr) to comb (hemp or flax)

noun

  1. an instrument for combing flax or hemp
v.

early 14c., “to comb (flax or hemp) with a heckle;” from heckle (n.) or from related Middle Dutch hekelen. Figurative meaning “to question severely in a bid to uncover weakness” is from late 18c. “Long applied in Scotland to the public questioning of parliamentary candidates” [OED]. Related: Heckled; heckling.

n.

“flax comb,” c.1300, hechel, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *hecel or a cognate Germanic word (cf. Middle High German hechel, Middle Dutch hekel), from Proto-Germanic *hakila-, from PIE *keg- “hook, tooth” (see hook).

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