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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Each time a player shakes the grid, the dice clatter around and settle into a new arrangement of letters. Katie Mccormick, Quanta Magazine, 8 Dec. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The songs clatter, wobble, and lurch into one another while Beyoncé wavers between singing and doing silly voices, in multitrack. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 29 July 2022 Amid the roar of artillery, the clatter of small arms and bone-rattling explosions, Times photographers have borne graphic witness to the fight to survive and kill — or just survive. New York Times, 1 June 2022 The tables are a-clatter and the mood is wonderfully chill. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 Unlike knights of old, however, there is little clatter from the chassis. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 21 May 2022 Kitchen-sink drama, the genre that brought social realism to the stage in a clatter of dirty dishes, is widely dismissed as a mid-20th century relic. Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2022 In Japanese houses, the sound was an unrelenting clatter of metal and glass. Bruce Barcott, Outside Online, 25 Aug. 2011 Who had inspired this scene from which arose such a clatter? Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 24 Dec. 2021 The phone, with its old-school clatter, rang again. Greg Borowski,, 20 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Cite this Entry

“Clatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for clatter


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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