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[klat-er] /ˈklæt ər/
verb (used without object)
to make a loud, rattling sound, as that produced by hard objects striking rapidly one against the other:
The shutters clattered in the wind.
to move rapidly with such a sound:
The iron-wheeled cart clattered down the street.
to talk fast and noisily; chatter:
They clattered on and on about their children.
verb (used with object)
to cause to clatter:
clattering the pots and pans in the sink.
a rattling noise or series of rattling noises:
The stagecoach made a terrible clatter going over the wooden bridge.
noisy disturbance; din; racket.
noisy talk; din of voices:
They had to shout over the clatter at the cocktail party.
idle talk; gossip.
Origin of clatter
before 1050; Middle English clateren, Old English clatr- (in clatrunge); cognate with Dutch klateren to rattle; see -er6
Related forms
clatterer, noun
clatteringly, adverb
clattery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clatter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The toot of the horn is as familiar to me now as the clatter of shod horses.

    Master Reynard Jane Fielding
  • There was a clatter of arms, followed by the scuffle of feet.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • Gradually this grew fainter, and was succeeded by the clatter of tongues.

  • He had taken a key from his pocket and had it poised, when he heard the clatter of the other's feet.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • They ride silently like shadows, with no clatter of stirrup or chink of bit.

  • And, with a clatter and a bang, she cast a pair of crutches on the floor at Billy's feet.

    Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray
  • Uncle Nicky, bending to replace a worn thole-pin with a new one, dropped the pair with a clatter.

    Shining Ferry Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Outside the tent there was a clatter of horse-iron on frozen ground.

    Blind Man's Lantern Allen Kim Lang
  • Bully yarn youve turned up, came his appreciative comment over the clatter of the keys.

British Dictionary definitions for clatter


to make or cause to make a rattling noise, esp as a result of movement
(intransitive) to chatter
a rattling sound or noise
a noisy commotion, such as one caused by loud chatter
Derived Forms
clatterer, noun
clatteringly, adverb
clattery, adjective
Word Origin
Old English clatrung clattering (gerund); related to Dutch klateren to rattle, German klatschen to smack, Norwegian klattra to knock
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for clatter

late Old English clatrung "clattering, noise," verbal noun implying an Old English *clatrian, of imitative origin. Cf. Middle Dutch klateren, East Frisian klatern, dialectal German klattern. The noun is attested from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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