Definitions

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

  • n. A torn and hanging piece of cloth; a shred.
  • n. Torn and ragged clothing; rags.
  • transitive v. To make or become ragged.
  • n. One that makes tatting, especially as a livelihood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A shred of torn cloth; an individual item of torn and ragged clothing.
  • n. A person engaged in tatting.
  • v. To destroy an article of clothing by shredding.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who makes tatting.
  • n. A rag, or a part torn and hanging; -- chiefly used in the plural.
  • transitive v. To rend or tear into rags; -- used chiefly in the past participle as an adjective.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To rend or tear into rags or shreds; wear to tatters.
  • To fall into rags or shreds; become ragged.
  • To chatter; gabble; jabber.
  • To stir actively and laboriously.
  • n. A rag, or a part torn and hanging: commonly applied to thin and flexible fabrics, as cloth, paper, or leather: chiefly used in the plural.
  • n. A ragged fellow; a tatterdemalion.
  • n. One who tats, or makes tatting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a small piece of cloth or paper

Etymologies

Middle English tater, of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • All things tatter and fade like a garment; You cast them off like a change of clothes.

    In the Valley of the Shadow

  • Her cane, made from a tatter umbrella, rights her slender body as best it can, but still she stumbles on the uneven path.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • Yeats had his own solution: "An aged man is but a paltry thing, /A tattered coat upon a stick, unless /Soul clap hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress."

    Peter Davis: Milestone or Millstone?

  • There are obvious victims of this process – we get fleeting glimpses of pitiful, Abu Ghraib-like scenes and a line of prisoners shuffling round in a circle, their nationalistic dance reduced to a weak-limbed tatter – but ultimately, Shechter suggests, we all end up victims of the lie, and none more so than those, like the knight, who subscribe most selflessly to it.

    Political Mother and Babel (words)

  • With the euro fighting a crisis that continues to push its value lower, that question about the willingness of German taxpayers and businesses to stand behind economically weaker nations with which they share the euro as a currency could determine whether the continent's decade-old monetary union survives its recent shock or begins to tatter.

    German businesses could steer the country out of the eurozone

  • And when our bodies linked, woven in heated rise and fall, every tatter of loneliness dissipated into the ether of memory.

    Fallout

  • To her horror, her fingernails sank in, penetrating the arm beneath the tatter of a sleeve.

    THE FORBIDDEN GAME

  • The tatter of something insubstantial flitted past, like an angelfish in an aquarium.

    Sparks

  • She claws at the rocks for purchase and screeches angrily as her wings tatter from the beatings.

    Slayed

  • Then, being crouched, I waddled most carefully down and tried to make sense of the lace and linen there, not wanting to expose the poor girl further with any mistaken movement of the wrong hem or tatter.

    Zombies vs. Unicorns

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Comments

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  • Cross; peevish. Old mistress is tedious tatter. --old provincial term from Kent England.

    May 17, 2011