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

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 And throughout the cavernous interior, yellow bins brimming with customers’ orders zipped along more than 10 miles of conveyor belts, which clattered with a thunderous din. Wired, "Meet the Immigrants Who Took On Amazon," 12 Nov. 2019 The Seagulls nearly shot themselves in the foot during the opening stages of the contest when Shane Duffy's attempted clearance clattered straight into centre-back partner Adam Webster, with the ball looping inches over the Brighton net., "Brighton 1-1 Burnley: Jeff Hendrick the Hero as Clarets Grab Last-Minute Leveller," 14 Sep. 2019 But Slovis and Malepeai clattered into each other and the Trojans turned the ball over on downs. New York Times, "U.S.C. and the Art of Skating on Thin Ice," 2 Sep. 2019 Still off camera, something is heard clattering on the floor. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "'I'm just humiliated': Black homeowner in his underwear handcuffed by North Carolina police after false alarm," 27 Aug. 2019 Take sports bars: TVs broadcasting images and sounds; stereo speakers blasting music from multiple locations; dishes and silverware clattering amid a symphony of voices. Caryn M. Sullivan, Twin Cities, "Caryn Sullivan: Meeting sensory challenges head-on," 25 Aug. 2019 Allen unleashed a swerving bullet that rattled into the top corner of the Coventry goal, clattering off the stanchion and bobbling back out., "Frank Lampard's 'Ghost Goal' Against Germany & the 8 Infamous Goals That Never Were," 27 June 2019 According to the Zoo, the vocalizations can indicate distress (chirps and honks), pain (squeals), a friendly gesture (bleats), a defensive threat (chomp—a teeth clattering rapid opening and closing of the mouth), or a bark to scare off an enemy. Beth Py-lieberman, Smithsonian, "14 Fun Facts About Giant Pandas," 10 Aug. 2019 Capture the motion of dancing fountains, quirky trams clattering up steep streets, and tumbling acrobats at the Chapitô circus school. National Geographic, "Lisbon High School Photography Workshop," 12 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It was filled with happy noise on both visits, the clatter of plates and the chatter of families over a bed of Latin music. Amy Drew Thompson,, "'Puerto Rican food is love’ at Kissimmee’s Trópico Mofongo | Review," 31 Oct. 2019 At dinner that night, the mess was silent save for the clatter of forks on plates. Ben Ehrenreich, The New Republic, "Inside the effort to rescue Europe’s unwelcome immigrants," 17 Oct. 2019 An espresso machines whirls and whooshes, coins clatter in a cash register, bags scrape along the floor. Deanna Pan,, "A day at South Station: A gateway to Boston, an intersection of many different lives," 17 Aug. 2019 The poker tables were noisy with the clatter of chips, the craps tables were hosting a lively game, and a large group converged at the baccarat tables., "But the Encore has become a significant new draw in the Boston area, even if the gambling traffic is modest by the lofty standards Wynn set in pursuit of its license.," 17 Sep. 2019 The noise in the dining room is little more than a low hum against the clatter of plates and cups. Justin Phillips,, "‘We just want to build a community’: Mozzeria’s story of empowerment and access," 13 Sep. 2019 The clatter of claws on the polished floor was heard throughout the lobby; evacuees from all over Florida arrived at the Wilderness Lodge, and pets were welcome to shelter at the resort during the storm. Samantha Mcnesby, USA TODAY, "How Disney World kept the magic alive as Hurricane Dorian threatened Florida," 4 Sep. 2019 The ball pummels a triangle of 10 pins, which clatter like startled geese. Phillip Valys,, "Flagler Village: New bars, restaurants invade funky Fort Lauderdale village," 23 Aug. 2019 That makes certain sense in an outdoor setting where the dialogue sometimes has to compete with the wail of ambulances, the clatter of helicopters, and the chiming of church bells. Don Aucoin,, "On the Common, a whimsical ‘Cymbeline’," 25 July 2019

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

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for clatter

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

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More Definitions for clatter


How to pronounce clatter (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clatter

Spanish Central: Translation of clatter

Nglish: Translation of clatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clatter for Arabic Speakers

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