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

Students set up street parties, commuters honked their horns and grandmothers clattered their pots and pans. Tom Ball, The New Republic, "How to Stage a Successful Revolution," 1 July 2019 On top of that, the sounds from the Metra and L trains came clattering through the walls. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "A new theater in Broad Ripple is now open, and its first show will be in September," 26 June 2019 Wedges of hot red and aquamarine collide and clatter apart flinging off shards of yellow and splinters of black and white. Stephen Ellis, The New York Review of Books, "Willem de Kooning: Acrobat with a Paint Brush," 1 June 2019 As the procession advances, the dancers twist the wooden handles on their matracas, or rattles, which make a hollow, clattering sound. Rachel Fobar, National Geographic, "Endangered armadillos are being turned into carnival rattles," 22 Feb. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

None of this pro-Trump clatter reaches through the thick walls of the Arsht Center. Washington Post, "Biden’s spin doctors, Beto’s flop, a sea of sweat: The madness after the Miami debates.," 28 June 2019 The clatter could be heard in nearby office buildings., "Construction rods spill from crane in downtown Portland; no one injured," 11 June 2019 Research supports the idea that a little background sound can help people tune out sleep-disrupting creaks or clatter. Markham Heid, Time, "Why Not Everyone Should Sleep with a White Noise Machine," 4 June 2019 At one point, Lizandro clatters into an opposing midfielder streaking down the wing. Ben Teitelbaum,, "A Dream Re-Routed: Deported Maryland Brothers Seek Options, Play on After Being Banished," 27 Feb. 2018 Ayala, a mother of two, has a warm, focused presence among the clatter of sorting machines and air vents. Alex Schechter, Vogue, "Forget Poppies, Ojai’s Pixie Season Is the California Nature Event to Know," 10 Apr. 2019 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

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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Learn More about clatter

Statistics for clatter

Last Updated

14 Jul 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

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