clat·​ter | \ ˈkla-tər How to pronounce clatter (audio) \
clattered; clattering; clatters

Definition of clatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a rattling sound the dishes clattered on the shelf
2 : to talk noisily or rapidly
3 : to move or go with a clatter clattered down the stairs

transitive verb

: to cause to clatter



Definition of clatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a rattling sound (as of hard bodies striking together) the clatter of pots and pans
2 : commotion the midday clatter of the business district
3 : noisy chatter

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Other Words from clatter


clatterer \ ˈkla-​tər-​ər How to pronounce clatterer (audio) \ noun
clatteringly \ ˈkla-​tə-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce clatteringly (audio) \ adverb


clattery \ ˈkla-​tə-​rē How to pronounce clattery (audio) \ adjective

Examples of clatter in a Sentence


The shutters clattered against the house. He heard dishes clattering in the kitchen. The box dropped and dozens of marbles clattered across the floor. The wagon clattered down the road.


the clatter of a crowded cafeteria
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fernando Torres came closest to opening the scoring in the first half, with his lobbed effort cleared off the line before both sides clattered the woodwork through Cristian Tello and Saul Niguez during the second 45., "Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Betis: Rotated Atleti Record Disciplined Display Ahead of Arsenal Showdown," 22 Apr. 2018 Two Dons men attempted to fell the midfielder with wild and late challenges, the last of which was Cosgrove's long after the ball was played - who clattered the Scotland international with what could have easily been a leg-breaking lunge., "PHOTO: Scott Brown Lives Up to 'Hard Man' Tag During Celtic's Win Over Aberdeen," 26 Feb. 2018 Falling behind rattled the Belgians as Hazard clattered the post moments later. Ryland James,, "Chadli fires Belgium into World Cup's last eight," 2 July 2018 However, not long after half time Argentina had the chance to reclaim the lead when defender Hördur Björgvin Magnússon clattered into Maximiliano Meza, with referee Szymon Marciniak pointing straight to the spot., "Lionel Messi Admits He Is 'Hurt' by Penalty Miss After Iceland Hold Out in World Cup Draw," 17 June 2018 Jones clattered into the back of Hazard at Wembley and the Belgium international stepped up to give Chelsea a narrow lead which the Blues held on to until the final whistle., "Phil Jones Insists He Will Not Dwell on 'Crap' FA Cup Final Mistake When Facing Eden Hazard," 16 June 2018 Benteke flicked on Hennessey's clearance down the inside-left channel to Zaha breaking into the box, the winger then flicked the ball over the onrushing Karius who clattered into him., "Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool: Late Salah Strike Rescues Win for Reds Against Stubborn Eagles," 31 Mar. 2018 Children are welcome to clatter on a 1912 National cash register that has a register drawer that still works. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "A quiet place to meet old La Porte," 10 July 2018 When Salah collected the ball deeper in midfield, Zhirkov clattered his second touch. Thomas Allnutt,, "Salah disappoints as Egypt crushed by Russia," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The room was buzzing with dudes grunting over the clatter of metal on metal. Gray Chapman, SELF, "Here's How I Conquered Weight Room Anxiety," 8 Sep. 2018 Curtis Craig’s sound design, evoking the hum and clatter of the factory floor, and Jeromy Hopgood’s video projections of the surrounding city, vistas of both ruin and regeneration, summon up the larger worlds in which these men and women move. Julia M. Klein,, "'Skeleton Crew' at People's Light: Human relations in the workplace during the great recession," 18 June 2018 At night, the 73-year-old retired factory worker listens to debris clatter behind the wall at the head of her bed. Tim Prudente,, "Collapse: The rise and deadly fall of a Baltimore rowhouse," 12 July 2018 Uber has been researching this, and argues that a reduction of 15 decibels will bring aircraft clatter down to acceptable levels, both in terms of sheer volume as well as its general detectability in urban environments. Eric Adams, WIRED, "Four Reasons We Don’t Have Flying Cars—Yet," 15 June 2018 Someone heard the bird’s clatter and saw what was likely Tiki, but then lost sight of her. Erika Pesantes,, "Tiki the toucan took off. Is she feasting on your mangoes?," 12 June 2018 The clatter of drums and horns drowned up much of the group's proselytizing. Eder Campuzano,, "Showers don't dampen spirit of Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade," 9 June 2018 Moderate, though there’s a pleasant background hum and clatter of carts at peak dim sum hours. Kate Washington, sacbee, "Seafood is a real strength at this new dim-sum spot in Sacramento's central city | The Sacramento Bee," 25 May 2018 The 9-speed automatic was smooth and the cabin was quiet with no diesel clatter intrusion except for a bit at startup. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Chevy’s smooth diesel Cruze hatchback boasts 600-mile range," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clatter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clatter


13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clatter


Middle English clatren, from Old English *clatrian; of imitative origin

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Statistics for clatter

Last Updated

27 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clatter

The first known use of clatter was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for clatter



English Language Learners Definition of clatter

: to make a quick series of short loud sounds


clat·​ter | \ ˈkla-tər How to pronounce clatter (audio) \
clattered; clattering

Kids Definition of clatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make or cause to make a rattling sound Dishes clattered in the kitchen.
2 : to move or go with a rattling sound The cart clattered down the road.



Kids Definition of clatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a rattling sound (as of hard objects striking together) the clatter of pots and pans
2 : commotion She … burst into the schoolroom with such a noise and a clatter that Tommy and Annika … jumped in their seats.— Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking

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More from Merriam-Webster on clatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clatter

Spanish Central: Translation of clatter

Nglish: Translation of clatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clatter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on clatter

What made you want to look up clatter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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