Definitions

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

  • adj. Somewhat worn, shabby, or dilapidated.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. potato
  • adj. Dilapidated, distressed, worn-out, torn

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mat or screen of fibers, as of the kuskus grass, hung at a door or window and kept wet to moisten and cool the air as it enters.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Same as tauted.
  • n. An East Indian matting made from the fiber of the cuscus-grass, which has a pleasant fragrance.

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

  • adj. showing signs of wear and tear
  • adj. tastelessly showy

Etymologies

Probably from tat, a rag, shabby person.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • And ever since OK! magazine announced that it was to run a warts-and-all account of Britney Spears' photo shoot meltdown, the world has been on the edge of its seat in anticipation of today's OK! magazine, because it had to – it just had to – have a picture of Britney Spears stumbling around out of her mind like some kind of tatty old shit-and-grease-covered redneck zombie.

    Britney Spears Being Sectioned

  • Of course - everybody knows it, but in these days of 'tatty' talent shows, he rarely gets a mention.

    Expecting Rain

  • Strictly Come Dancing: Viewers outraged by tiny and 'tatty' dresses that are cheapening the show

    Home | Mail Online

  • What joy that tatty rag brings to an otherwise dull world and a peep into the minds of the distinctly vague and those living in a parallel universe.

    Police Need Intelligence Shock « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • It shrugged its attackers off, determined to reach some tatty bramble flowers with an appetite as fierce as the buzzard's.

    Country diary: Wenlock Edge

  • The effect is that of a slightly withered, tatty, Miss Havisham-esque hold-all.

    When It Comes to Style, It's In the Bag

  • Meanwhile a tatty but unmolested car is often worth far more than an identical model that has been insensitively or inaccurately restored.

    Buying Into Old-Fashioned Value

  • I can't quite describe the sensation of opening an envelope to find the tatty, coffee-stained old passport pictures of Education Minister Jane the Hutt.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • Though emotional and professional success are not prerequisites for being sane and interesting company, there is a very good chance that happily married/partnered dads around 40 who are good at their jobs will have stuff in common, especially if those jobs make them knowledge workers; Bruntsfield's tatty but solid housing stock seems to be an attractor for academics, medics, geeks, designers, artists ...

    The nice thing about Edinburgh...

  • For a refit, we were told, and we went to the pre-sale gathering at Bonhams and saw the 1950s painted panels, the chandeliers, the ormolu light fittings, the fret-worked tables and the lattice chairs, all somehow sadder and more tatty away from their legendary surroundings, marking the end of an era.

    The Smartest Hotel in the World

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