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

rend, ribbon, rip, rive, shred, tear

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Examples of tatter in a Sentence


the kids will tatter that doll beyond repair if they don't quit yanking on it

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While the cloth jacket had what appeared to be puncture marks and the pants were tattered, the nylon shoes had little weathering. Miles Blumhardt, The Denver Post, "Jaryd Atadero disappeared on hike near Fort Collins 20 years ago. His father has been looking for answers ever since.," 9 June 2019 From privacy to products to the treatment of its own employees and contractors, the banner is tattered. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Google," 26 Dec. 2018 Manager Terry Francona, whose bullpen is tattered, stayed with Kluber into the eighth even with Gregorius leading off. New York Times, "A Potential Pitching Showcase Melts Into a Rugged Yankees Win," 12 July 2018 But there has been a seismic shift in the balance of power in the NBA after LeBron James decided to join the Lakers in the uber-competitive Western Conference, leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers tattered and an Eastern Conference up for grabs. Broderick Turner, latimes.com, "NBA's balance of power again shifts West, which bodes well for Boston and Philadelphia," 3 July 2018 Down a run entering the seventh inning, the Red Sox tattered Harris for three two-out runs, taking a lead their bullpen refused to cede. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Red Sox rough up Will Harris in Astros' loss," 2 June 2018 At the Washington Monument, where flags had been flying at half-staff to honor Rev. Billy Graham, at least half a dozen flags appeared tattered by the wind. Karen Weintraub, Washington Post, "Nor’easter slams East Coast with violent winds; thousands lose power," 2 Mar. 2018 Redeemer is located just west of the Marquette University campus, in a neighborhood tattered by poverty. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better Angels: Consider the humble honeybee," 2 Jan. 2018 When night comes, the vast majority of this 100-mile long, 35-mile wide island plunges into profound darkness, exposing the impotence of a long-troubled power grid that was tattered by Maria's winds and rains. Carlie Kollath Wells, NOLA.com, "Hurricane Ophelia slowly heads toward Ireland, Azores," 12 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Given Durant’s stature, his future as a free agent, all the money that was potentially at stake, and a three-peat legacy in tatters, that’s not difficult to imagine. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "NBA insider: Kevin Durant ‘not really happy’ with the Warriors," 24 June 2019 The death of the Washington Post writer, a longtime Saudi insider who became a critic of Salman, caused international outrage and left the crown prince’s reformist image in tatters. NBC News, "Saudi prince vows to confront threats after U.S. blames Iran for tanker attack," 16 June 2019 Having fallen 2-0 behind in the first half, Australia's hopes of progressing from Group C appeared to be in tatters, but a brilliant fightback secured a 3-2 win to keep alive the Matildas' chances of progressing to the knockout stages. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Australia beats Brazil after brilliant Women's World Cup comeback," 13 June 2019 Now, 17 years and more than $20 billion later, the partnership between Gale International and Posco Engineering & Construction Co. and its dream of becoming an international center of business and finance is in tatters. Peter Grant, WSJ, "Developer Feuds With Korean Partner Over Busted ‘Smart’ City," 11 June 2019 But a run of nine straight defeats have seemingly left those dreams in tatters. SI.com, "Women's World Cup - Matchday 3 Preview: How to Watch, Live Stream, Team News & More," 7 June 2019 After two consecutive quarters of profits, the growth story at Tesla Inc. is suddenly in tatters. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Tesla Delivers a Dud," 3 Apr. 2019 With European democracy in tatters, a profound sense of disillusionment descended. Joseph Loconte, WSJ, "What World War I Taught the Clergy," 8 Nov. 2018 Nassar got 175 years, but this monstrous scandal continues, with USA Gymnastics bankrupt and in tatters, and additional fallout is certain to come. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Year in Sports: Truth Wins," 18 Dec. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near tatter







tattered leaf

Statistics for tatter

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tatter

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on tatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tatter

Spanish Central: Translation of tatter

Nglish: Translation of tatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tatter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tatter

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something desired as essential

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