1

tatterdemalion

play
noun tat·ter·de·ma·lion \ˌta-tər-di-ˈmāl-yən, -ˈmal-, -ˈma-lē-ən\

Definition of tatterdemalion

  1. :  a person dressed in ragged clothing :  ragamuffin

tatterdemalion was our Word of the Day on 04/19/2017. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of tatterdemalion

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1608


2

tatterdemalion

adjective tat·ter·de·ma·lion

Definition of tatterdemalion

  1. 1 :  ragged or disreputable in appearance

  2. 2 :  being in a decayed state or condition :  dilapidated

Examples of tatterdemalion in a Sentence

  1. 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.

1614

First Known Use of tatterdemalion

1614


Learn More about tatterdemalion


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tatterdemalion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a weapon for destroying ships

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • winning-words-from-the-national-spelling-bee-logo
  • Which is the correct spelling of the winning word from 1988?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!