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


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

Examples of clatter in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun the clatter of a crowded cafeteria
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Avengers Campus offers plenty of the superheroes' souvenirs, from apparel and figurines to the Spider-Bots, which clatter around on eight legs at the flick of remote control. Paul Vercammen, CNN, 2 June 2021 In that part of the world, both governments and their opponents know that mass protest is rarely polite; when anger boils over, people clatter over walls, break things, fight cops. Star Tribune, 11 Jan. 2021 In Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, thousands of tailors usually work from tiny studios tucked between barber shops and corner stores, or in clattering rows in the fabric section of markets. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 June 2020 Subway trains clattered along their tracks, their doors squealing open to disgorge crowds of passengers. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Apr. 2020 At a section of uneven sidewalk, the robot paused, as if in thought, before clattering over the break. Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2020 Like his predecessors for nearly 200 years, General Kelley and his wife lived in elegance in a historic Washington residence with high ceilings, crystal chandeliers, a reputed ghost and a view of parade grounds clattering with ceremonial drills. New York Times, 31 Dec. 2019 Gizmo clattered up to him with his favorite toy, a velvet bone, and Hendrix chuckled. Kevin Fagan,, 28 Nov. 2019 New turn lanes will stripe the roadway, diverting traffic from a transit spine that’s intended to be a grand promenade, rife with bicycles and clattering streetcars. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But good sound design requires more than just the ability to re-create the creak of a door hinge or the bustle and clatter of a lunch counter. Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2021 The engine rumble is deafening, and there is constant metal-on-metal clatter when chains smack the steel interior as the nets are mechanically hoisted. Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Aug. 2011 There's really no obvious downside to the compression-ignition Suburban—no uncouth clatter, no dearth of power, no huge price penalty. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 20 Aug. 2021 He was struck by the chaos of the scene and the thin recollections from the bystanders who described little more than hearing the clatter of gunfire. Ryan Dube, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2021 The clatter of hundreds of horseshoes accompanied military music as uniformed guards on horseback escorted President Emmanuel Macron. Angela Charlton, ajc, 14 July 2021 EVs don't have an engine, so road noise, wind rush, and suspension clatter is that much more obvious. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, 26 June 2021 The clink of ice in a glass, the clatter of a good shake, the smooth stream of a measured pour — the sounds of cocktail hour can be a balm. Rebekah Peppler, Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 Violent crime, despite persistent spasms, is still dramatically lower today than the clatter of violence that once characterized large regions of the L.A. basin. Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for clatter

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Clatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on clatter

Nglish: Translation of clatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clatter for Arabic Speakers


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