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[rat-ee] /ˈræt i/
adjective, rattier, rattiest.
full of rats.
of or characteristic of a rat.
wretched; shabby:
a ratty, old overcoat.
Slang. irritable or angry; bad-tempered; nasty:
I always feel ratty when I wake up.
Origin of ratty
First recorded in 1860-65; rat + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ratty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He may look kind of—of ratty, but all the same he's got rich relations.

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I'm frightfully hungry, and I've got any amount to say to ratty here.

    The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • "You really needn't fret, ratty," added the Badger placidly.

    The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • At last a feeble voice replied, 'Thank you so much, dear ratty!

    The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • The Badger laughed good-humouredly and said, 'All right, ratty!

    The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • Dare say he'd be ratty, but then, think of how he's helping.

    King of Ranleigh

    F. S. (Frederick Sadlier) Brereton
  • Muskrats I had no sympathy for, they looked so ratty, and had so unpleasant a smell.

    Riverby John Burroughs
  • But, then, Dallam was a ratty soul and was for deserting a sinking ship.

    We Can't Have Everything Rupert Hughes
  • Of course I know that you're ratty at my talking about it at all, although you pretend not to be.

    The Hall and the Grange Archibald Marshall
British Dictionary definitions for ratty


adjective -tier, -tiest
(Brit & NZ, informal) irritable; annoyed
(informal) (of the hair) unkempt or greasy
(US & Canadian, slang) shabby; dilapidated
(Austral, slang)
  1. angry
  2. mad
of, like, or full of rats
Derived Forms
rattily, adverb
rattiness, noun
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 ratty

1856, "resembling a rat;" 1865, "full of rats;" 1867, "wretched, miserable, shabby," from rat (n.) + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ratty



Shabby; slovenly; scruffy, tacky: The skinny Berkley, with her ratty hair and sharp teeth/ the rat-ass rags he's always wearing (1867+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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