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 Subway trains clattered along their tracks, their doors squealing open to disgorge crowds of passengers. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘If you don’t work you don’t eat’: Where lockdowns have extra sting," 20 Apr. 2020 At a section of uneven sidewalk, the robot paused, as if in thought, before clattering over the break. Washington Post, "24 hours inside the lives upended by coronavirus in the nation’s capital," 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, "Gen. Paul X. Kelley, Top Marine Tested by a Bombing, Dies at 91," 31 Dec. 2019 Gizmo clattered up to him with his favorite toy, a velvet bone, and Hendrix chuckled. Kevin Fagan,, "Evicted for having cancer, disabled house painter lands in a place of his own," 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, "Car-free Market Street," 24 Jan. 2020 These reusable cotton totes are sized like standard paper grocery bags (15 x 12 x 7 inches), with six pop-out bottle sleeves to help keep your bottles from clattering. Popular Science, "The best reusable bags for toting your groceries," 8 Dec. 2019 On rough pavement, my molars clattered from the stiff ride on its noninflatable tires. Wired, "Stop Renting E-Scooters Every Day and Just Buy One Already!," 24 Sep. 2019 The courtroom clattered with the tapping of keyboards – at least a dozen journalists had been crammed onto the benches that run around the side of the chamber. The Economist, "Stories of an extraordinary world The prime minister and the murdered journalist: inside Malta, a nation on the brink," 13 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The center is now filled with the clatter and beeping of 3D printers in full production mode, all 12 of them pumping out more masks., "With a shortage of face masks, Phoenix hospital turns to 3D printing," 28 Apr. 2020 His voice manages to cut through the chaos and the clatter, bringing with it a soothing synth refrain, offering a model of resilience sometimes more captivating than the words themselves. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Moses Sumney’s World of Possibilities," 2 Mar. 2020 And for the first time, the Wrangler runs on diesel, thanks to a 3.0 V6 Turbo Diesel engine that whistles and clatters as the turbo spools up and driving the monster to bear down on anything in its path. Hannah Elliott,, "The Diesel Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Takes Off-Road Glory to the City," 6 Feb. 2020 There’s the babble of today’s news, the clatter of all acts prior, the clamor of expectations. Mitchell Jackson, Washington Post, "Short fiction about the trials of reentry," 28 Oct. 2019 The sisters lose themselves in the rhythmic clatter of the sewing machine mixed with whatever Spanish-language crooner happens to be emanating from their radio. Los Angeles Times, "Three sisters set aside a dressmaking rivalry to kick coronavirus butt," 16 Apr. 2020 There will also be the honk of late-night traffic and the clatter of passing trains. Boyce Upholt, Outside Online, "Parks Are Closing—but Wilderness Is All Around You," 27 Mar. 2020 Somewhere over the horizon lay everything the pair often tried to escape: the cities and highways, the clatter, the dark memories. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "Finding Answers about Life and Love in the Mountain Death Zone," 12 Feb. 2020 Put simply, the PowerStroke is a highly refined if expensive brute, delivering good responses to pedal inputs and minimal diesel clatter for its considerable size and output—not to mention more grunt than most buyers will ever need. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "Ford's New Super Duty Trucks Play as Hard as They Work," 21 Jan. 2020

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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Statistics for clatter

Last Updated

4 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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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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