Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Straw matting used as a floor covering especially in a Japanese house.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. straw matting, in a standard size, used as a floor covering in Japanese houses

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A floor-mat about two inches thick, made of rice-straw bound together and covered on the upper surface with matting. The edges are usually bound with cloth.
  • n. A Japanese measure of surface, that of a mat 6 shaku in length by 3 shaku in width, or nearly 6 feet by 3 feet.

Etymologies

Japanese.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Japanese  (たたみ, tatami). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Japan, of course, uses that oh-so-traditional unit of measurement known as the tatami mat, and the size of a room is always expressed in how many tatami would fit inside, even if it's a traditional Western room with wooden flooring.

    Anime Nano!

  • In one cell, a gray plastic tarp protects the straw "tatami" mat floor from bed-wetting.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Students in the class can learn from real geisha how to put on kimono and make-up as well as how to dance on '' tatami '' mats at the Japanese-style inn Tokaikan during a single-day course for 12,800 yen or a two-day course for 18,800 yen.

    Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

  • There are a lot of Chinese staples that have been rehabilitated, as well as stylish upgrades of items owned by any older Chinese lady, such as tatami back cushions.

    NYT > Travel

  • With Ozu, we have the consistent tropes of the excessively low-angle "tatami" shot, the increasing exclusion of camera movement, the crossing-the-line eye-line mismatching that forms the basis of an editing system, and the formalist abstraction of the "pillow" shots of clothes lines, chimneys, and so forth.

    GreenCine Daily

  • "tatami," or straw-mats, an inch or more in thickness, give to the room an appearance of cleanliness which usually belies the truth.

    Evolution Of The Japanese, Social And Psychic

  • The mothers sat together in clumps, but my Ted laid out a tatami mat and sat with me.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

  • The tatami mats in the master bath area caused headaches in figuring the floor height, the set depth of the Japanese ofuro tub and the shower drop so that everything would come out level.

    Bird Cloud

  • I was keen to have tatami mats in a furniture-free alcove off the bedroom for meditation and exercise.

    Bird Cloud

  • The house design included other Japanese elements, especially an exercise area adjacent to the tub and bathroom fitted with tatami mats and walled with sliding shoji panels.

    Bird Cloud

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