Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cackle v.

[SE cackle, the sound made by a hen]

1. to talk, to chatter, to prattle.

[UK]Palsgrave Lesclarcissement de la Langue Francoyse n.p.: Verbes: Cakyll or clatter [...] Howe these women cackyll nowe they have dyned.
[UK]Misogonus in Farmer (1906) III i: By th’ marrikins! will you not leave your cackling.
[UK]F. Merbury Marriage Between Wit and Wisdom I iii: Ah, that drab! she can cackle like a caddow.
[UK]London Jilt pt 2 87: My Maid was too wise and secret to go cackle abroad what she ought to keep in Silence.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Cackling, Prating, Talking.
[UK]Pope Dunciad I 10: Rob the Roman geese of all their glories, And save the state by cackling to the Tories?
[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! II 52: She went cackling about the village.
[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair I 300: He came home to find his sisters spread in starched muslin in the drawing-room, the dowagers cackling in the back-ground.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend 1 362: ‘Now suppose you march out the way you came in’ cackled Mrs. Davies.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 234: You sets on cacklin’ at this ’ere rate afore he’s been in the house half-an-hour.
[UK]T. Frost Circus Life and Circus Celebrities 280: ‘Cackling’ [means] talking.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Woman Rights’ in Punch 2 Apr. 156/2: Then the birds on the fence fluttered down one by one, and each cackled her bit.
[UK]Sporting Times 25 Jan. 1/1: We’re neither of us such blessed fools as to use our jaws for cackling purposes when there’s a good square meal waiting to be munched.
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 23: You must know that everybody connected with the sea was there, because the affair had been notorious for days, ever since that mysterious cable message came from Aden to start us cackling.
[UK]Gem 17 Oct. 2: That’s right, [...] begin to cackle like a girl!
[US]A. Irvine My Lady of the Chimney Corner 90: Some oul bitch said it an’ th’ others cackle it from doore to doore.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Madame Prince 203: She was always wanting to cackle, cackle, cackle, and I think it’s quite likely the young fellow got frightened of her.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 205: They cackled that he was drunk.
[UK]Film Fun 8 Sept. 1: ‘Ha, ha!’ he cackled gleefully.
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘On Saturday Afternoon’ Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 104: Next day she cackled on the other side of her face.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 123: A bunch of housecatting ARVNs [...] who quacked and cackled and yammered and wouldn’t shut up the whole trip.
[Ire]J.B. Keane Bodhrán Makers 174: Cackle away you oul’ crone but you may be sure that this bodhrán will be sounding long after we’re shoving up daisies.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 9: Chain-smoking an cacklin at nothin in puhticular.

2. (UK Und.) to reveal secrets through indiscreet talk, to inform.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: Cackle, to discover. The cull cackles, i.e., the rogue tells all.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Cackle, (cant) to blab, or discover secrets. The cull is leaky, and cackles; the rogue tells all.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 20: Caccle [...] to blab and let out a secret.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 98: ‘Was he nabbed on the scent?’ ‘No, his pal grew leaky and cackled.’.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 313/1: cackle, caqueter, divulguer des secrets.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: [If] he works in company he has an anxious time lest some of the stags or snitchers may chirp or cackle, squeak or whiddle, if hush stuff is not forthcoming or, to put it in plainer English, informers may speak unless they are paid for their silence.
[NZ]N. Marsh Died in the Wool (1963) 224: I’m not the sort to cackle, you know.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

SE in slang uses

In compounds

cackle factory (n.)

(US) a psychiatric institution.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 39/1: Cackle-factory, A hospital for the criminally insane or for mentally defective delinquents.
[US]R. Prather Darling, It’s Death (2003) 35: Con Torelli! You must have been sprung from the cackle factory. Not even gunner would try that.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 6: Everybody in the cackle factory must have heard me.
J. Speicher Looking for Baby Paradise 42: You boff any our boys with that an I see you go straight to the cackle factory.
G. Jaynes Sketches from Dirt Road 64: I feel like I’m just about ready for the cackle factory, [...] I can't keep up with it. I'm tired.
D. McCall Bluebird Canyon 54: I’m terribly ashamed — when you saw me — when you and Jos put me in the cackle factory.
L. Jenkin Dark Ride 291: They shipped him off to the cackle factory.
posting at 20 Aug. [Internet] He would have been escorted to the local cackle factory because his actions were not intended as harassment towards an individual.
cackle tub (n.) [tub n.1 (2)]

1. a dissenting chapel.

[UK]Egan Grose n.p.: Cackle-Tub. A conventicle or meeting-house for dissenters.

2. a preacher.

[US]S. Judd Margaret (1851) I 74: I guess you know as much about him as any body, old Cackletub!

3. a pulpit.

et seq. implied in autem-cackle-tub under autem n.
D.I. Moriarty Innisfoyle I 220: ‘Bob, your conduct in the cackle-tub* was not at all the thing,’ says I. [note] *Pulpit.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Sept. 6/5: He has an oily jibb and is as good at carney as a cackle tub chicken.
[UK]H. King Savage London 153: I’ll go and sit under the cackle-tub in Little Bethel next Sunday.
[UK]A. Day Mysterious Beggar 214: I mean th’ holy Joes: th’ cushion smiters. Them as holds a palaver uv a Sunday in th’ cackle tubs in th’ big churches.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.
[Aus] (ref. to 1890s) ‘Gloss. of Larrikin Terms’ in J. Murray Larrikins 202: cackle tub: a pulpit.
cackling cove (n.)

(UK und.) a poultry thief.

Life and Glorious Actions of [...] Jonathan Wilde 16: Cackling cove, a mean sort of Thieves, who only steal hHns, Cocks, Chickens, &c.