Recently I came across a couple of French words I hadn’t seen before – tchatter /tʃa.te/ (to chat) and tchat /tʃat/ (chat). As far as I can tell, they seem to refer particularly to online chat. The definition of tchatter on Reverso is “discuter avec d’autres personnes en temps réel depuis un ordinateur.” (to talk with other people in real time via a computer).
Similar words include:
- tchatche /tʃatʃ/, which Reverso defines as ‘jabberism’ (have you heard that one before?), patter, loquacity, verbosity, blather, etc. and which appears in the phrase avoir (de) la tchatche or ‘to have the gift of the gab’.
- tchatcher /tʃa.tʃe/ – to talk a lot and charmingly
- tchatcheur /tʃa.tʃœʁ/ – a great boaster; a voluable or talkative person.
Another French word for to chat is bavarder, and alternatives to tchatter include bavarder en ligne, cyberbavarder and clavarder – the latter is apparently used in Quebec and is a portmanteau of clavier (keyboard) and bavarder.
According to Wikitionaire tchatter, which is also written chatter and chater, comes from the English word chat, which comes from the Middle English word chateren (to chatter), which is thought to be of imitative origin.