American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A tattoo, as of a drum, the hooves of a galloping horse, or machine-gun fire.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The sound or music of the military drum; a tattoo or “rub-a-dub.”
- n. A continuous, even drumming or rapping, as of the hooves of a galloping horse, or machine-gun fire.
- v. To drum repeatedly.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The iterative sound of beating a drum, or of a galloping horse.
- n. the sound made by beating a drum
- From French ran tan plan, onomatopoeic. (Wiktionary)
- French, of imitative origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Then comes the military réveille, and the deafening 'rataplan' of regimental drums, and the town is soon alive with people arriving and departing by the early trains; whilst others collect in the market-place in holiday attire with baskets of flowers, and commence the erection of an altar to the Virgin in the middle of the square.”
“Cusins flourishes his drumsticks as if in the art of beating a lively rataplan, but makes no sound.”
“The child-actress was the prop of her mother and the donkey; her talent also kept the youth, who began to agitate the nerves of Beynac with his diabolical rataplan hours before each performance.”
“Then on, with, the galloping even triplet of the house's hoofs beneath me, as they came down in quick succession, as if the earth were a muffled drum and we were beating an untiring rataplan on her breast.”
“Mr. Gordon performed a surpassing rataplan upon his long-suffering thumb-joint and wondered if this queer and direct being might qualify among the redeemable ten per cent.”
“Then the quick, sharp roll of the rataplan sounded through the miserable streets of the old city, as with ever-increasing shouts of "Aux armes! aux armes!”
“A cool breeze went; the hoofs of the horses beat a rataplan on the hard surface; the great road, broad enough to make three of, was alive with smart gigs and trotters.”
“It affords endless amusement to listen to their endless variety of complaint; some are restless, some spiteful, and some angry, while others sound as merrily as a teakettle, or beat a jolly 'rub-a-dub,' 'rataplan,' that makes a man's soul merry to hear.”
“A rataplan on a side-drum feebly played in the street outside!”
“Most of the time it was far away, and it only made two daily promenades past the hotel, but whenever I listened for it I could hear it, beating the same unweary rataplan.”
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