tat·​ter | \ ˈta-tər How to pronounce tatter (audio) \
tattered; tattering; tatters

Definition of tatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make ragged

intransitive verb

: to become ragged



Definition of tatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a part torn and left hanging : shred
2 tatters plural : tattered clothing : rags

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Synonyms for tatter

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of tatter in a Sentence

Verb the kids will tatter that doll beyond repair if they don't quit yanking on it
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dangerous Toys’ tattered sway made these Austin, Texas rockers an appealing spin for fans whose appetite for destruction had yet to be satiated. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "15 underrated ’80s debut albums by hard-rock/metal acts," 29 May 2020 Most of the fabric was worn, torn or tattered, and the bits that were still in good condition were too small to use for other projects. Alisha Mcdarris, Popular Science, "Save money and protect the environment by repurposing your old outdoor gear," 3 Apr. 2020 Coming down that highway, one’s arrival was confirmed by a row of flag poles holding international flags, tattered and generally ignored. Nathan Taylor Pemberton, New York Times, "I Quit the Evangelical Church I Grew Up In," 20 Jan. 2020 So where did Ransom’s tattered cozy knit end up after filming wrapped? Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Chris Evans Gets His Beloved Dog a Matching Knives Out Cable-Knit Sweater," 26 Dec. 2019 So where did Ransome’s tattered cozy knit end up after filming wrapped? Hanna Flanagan, PEOPLE.com, "Twitter Is Absolutely Obsessed with Chris Evans' Cozy Sweater from Knives Out - Shop the Look!," 3 Dec. 2019 This store, along with other Starbucks locations throughout the city, would fall prey to similar assaults during the day, leaving dozens of storefronts defaced and tattered. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Starbucks in Hong Kong: Caught in the Crossfire," 2 Oct. 2019 Over time, the pages of the book tattered, until Futhu was able to read it himself. New York Times, "The Schoolteacher and the Genocide," 8 Aug. 2019 The flag, pierced by German bullet holes and tattered by the wind, flew aboard one of the landing crafts that troops used to storm the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "D-Day flag that flew at Normandy landing gifted to US 75 years later. Trump accepts flag from Netherlands PM," 19 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Decades later, the Squirrel, as her friends called her, hung on to every old tatter. Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times, "Divorce, quarantine, Stage 4 cancer? Annabelle Gurwitch has to laugh," 25 Feb. 2021 Even as the protests rage, voters are also enduring a coronavirus death toll that’s exceeded 100,000 and a U.S. economy in tatters. Justin Sink, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Invokes Law-and-Order to Put Protests Over Pandemic," 7 June 2020 Such potential tatters of ancient DNA are not exactly Jurassic Park–quality. Riley Black, Scientific American, "Possible Dinosaur DNA Has Been Found," 17 Apr. 2020 His army is in tatters, and while the common people still largely support him, the powerful clans do not. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Robert the Bruce': Film Review," 23 Apr. 2020 With its economy and healthcare system already in tatters, Syria isn’t in a position to deal with either the medical or financial fallout from the coronavirus. Ian Bremmer, Time, "What Happens Next with Syrian Refugees, Europe and Coronavirus," 19 Apr. 2020 For a white liberal, the book leaves many an illusion in tatters. Michael Ignatieff, New York Times, "How Racism Is Destroying America," 6 Apr. 2020 Since the coronavirus hit, China's economy has been in tatters. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "China claims it beat coronavirus but does anyone believe it? 'The truth has always been a casualty'," 25 Mar. 2020 Now, that partnership is in tatters as the coronavirus pandemic has driven the fastest collapse of oil prices in more than a generation. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "U.S. Oil Companies, Heavily in Debt, Are Further Strained as Prices Collapse," 20 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tatter.' 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 tatter


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tatter


Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse tǫturr tatter; akin to Old English tætteca rag, Old High German zotta matted hair, tuft

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Time Traveler for tatter

Time Traveler

The first known use of tatter was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Tatter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tatter. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tatter


tat·​ter | \ ˈta-tər How to pronounce tatter (audio) \

Kids Definition of tatter

1 : a part torn and left hanging : shred
2 tatters plural : ragged clothing

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