What is the sound of teeth called that occurs in chilly weather: the sound that comes due to teeth crashing in each other in an extremely chilly winter.


The most common and idiomatic word to describe this situation is chattering.

From WordNet:

chatter: click together repeatedly or uncontrollably

"Chattering teeth"

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    I'm not sure I can accept that without a reference and a few cites. – deadrat Jun 30 '15 at 10:22
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    Getting there, @deadrat. I usually post the answer first and then go get some sources to support it. – Dan Bron Jun 30 '15 at 10:24
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    I wasn't serious. I guess I'm going to have to learn how to use emoticons. – deadrat Jun 30 '15 at 10:51
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    I didn't know that you were kidding, but it didn't matter: you were absolutely right, and at no point was I offended. I post comments like yours all the time, and I wouldn't like to make a hypocrite of myself! I don't like to post answers which are supported solely by the implicit notion of "... take my word for it!". – Dan Bron Jun 30 '15 at 10:54
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    Absolutely right? No, not if you took me seriously. – deadrat Jun 30 '15 at 11:07

Chatter is the word you are looking for:

Chatter (teeth):

  • If your teeth chatter, they knock together repeatedly because you are very cold or frightened:
    • I could hardly talk, my teeth were chattering so much.

Cambridge Dictionary


I've also heard Clatter used for this.

A continuous rattling sound as of hard objects falling or striking each other:

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From Google books the following quote

“'Who are you?' I asked through clattering teeth. I was shivering from head to toe.

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    That is definitely a word that describes a sound, but I don't think I've ever seen it applied to the activity of teeth when one is cold or shivering. – Dan Bron Jun 30 '15 at 14:11
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    Google Ngram viewer suggests it's rare relative to Chattering but does get used. I must have read a lot of books from the 1890s. (; – aslum Jun 30 '15 at 14:13
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    Haha, fair enough. Upvoted. If you add the nGram link and image/chart to your answer, you might get others' upvotes as well. – Dan Bron Jun 30 '15 at 14:16

protected by Community Jul 1 '15 at 19:20

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