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

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 In another room, a plastic light cover clattered to the floor. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Chapter One: A Quiet Man," 15 July 2019 Sweden ultimately had to hang on, with an offside ruling that went to VAR negating a possible penalty when keeper Hedvig Lindahl clattered into Popp. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Sweden stuns Germany at Women's World Cup as Dutch reach maiden semifinal," 29 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

8 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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