early 14c., bikere, "to skirmish, fight," perhaps from Middle Dutch bicken "to slash, stab, attack," + -er, Middle English frequentative suffix (as in blabber, hover, patter). Meaning "to quarrel, petulantly contend with words" is from mid-15c. Meaning "make a noisy, repeated clatter" is from 1748. Related: Bickered; bickering.
c. 1300, "a skirmish, a confused battle;" from the same source as bicker (v.). In modern use, often to describe the sound of a flight of an arrow or other repeated, loud, rapid sounds, in which sense it is perhaps at least partly echoic.