tatterdemalion was our Word of the Day on 04/19/2017. Hear the podcast!
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Origin and Etymology of tatterdemalion
First Known Use: 1608See Words from the same year
Examples of tatterdemalion in a Sentence
one of those tatterdemalion towns of the rust belt where the factories closed down decades ago
Did You Know?
The exact origin of tatterdemalion is uncertain, but it’s probably connected to either the noun tatter ("a torn scrap or shred") or the adjective tattered ("ragged" or "wearing ragged clothes"). We do know that tatterdemalion has been used in print since the 1600s. In its first documented use in 1608, it was used as a noun (as it still can be) to refer to a person in ragged clothing - the type of person we might also call a ragamuffin. (Ragamuffin, incidentally, predates tatterdemalion in this sense. Like tatterdemalion, it may have been formed by combining a known word, rag, with a fanciful ending.) Within half a dozen years of the first appearance of tatterdemalion, it came to be used as an adjective to describe anything or anyone ragged or disreputable.
First Known Use of tatterdemalion
Synonymsbeat-up, bombed-out, dilapidated, dog-eared, down-at-the-heels (or down-at-heel also down-at-the-heel or down-at-heels), dumpy, grungy, mangy, mean, miserable, moth-eaten, neglected, ratty, run-down, scrubby, scruffy, seedy, sleazy, tacky, shabby, tatty, threadbare, timeworn, tumbledown
Related Wordsabandoned, uncared-for, unkept; desolate, forlorn, godforsaken; broken-down, decrepit, tired, worn-out; bedraggled, dingy, ragged, tattered; decaying, deteriorated, deteriorating, rackety, ramshackle, rattletrap, rickety, tumbledown; broken, damaged, destroyed, harmed, hurt, impaired, injured, ruined, wrecked
Near Antonymsbrand-new, fresh, new; cared-for, kept-up, maintained; mended, patched, rebuilt, reconstructed; smart, spiffy, spruce
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