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or rat-a-tat-tat

[rat-uh-tat or rat-uh-tat-tat] /ˈræt əˈtæt or ˈræt əˌtætˈtæt/
a sound of knocking or rapping:
a sharp rat-a-tat on the window.
Origin of rat-a-tat
First recorded in 1675-85; imitative Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rat-a-tat-tat
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So he stopped and tapped on the door, rat-a-tat-tat, very softly, you know.

  • Each game he started against us he got the old “rat-a-tat-tat.”

    Pitching in a Pinch Christy Mathewson
  • Over by the orchard, he could hear a flicker go "rat-a-tat-tat," boring away at the old apple tree.

    Half-Past Seven Stories Robert Gordon Anderson
  • rat-a-tat-tat at the first dim hint of dawn went the chamberlain's knuckles upon the door.

    Master Skylark John Bennett
  • We started to climb the Ridge, and we were just coming through a churchyard when rat-a-tat-tat!

    Into the Jaws of Death

    Jack O'Brien
British Dictionary definitions for rat-a-tat-tat


the sound of knocking on a door
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 rat-a-tat-tat


1680s, echoic, originally of a cooper hammering tubs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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