- a torn piece hanging loose from the main part, as of a garment or flag.
- a separate torn piece; shred.
- tatters, torn or ragged clothing: dressed in rags and tatters.
- to tear or wear to tatters.
- to become ragged.
Origin of tatter1
1375–1425; (noun) late Middle English < Old Norse tǫturr rag, tatter; akin to Old English tætteca rag, shred; (v.) back formation from tattered
- a person who does tatting, especially as an occupation.
Origin of tatter2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tatter
It had gone; no trace was left, not a tatter of cloth, not a spot of blood, nothing.The Night Riders
Why may you not have saved that tatter of the old gown twice seven years, then?Donald and Dorothy
Mary Mapes Dodge
You go round by Tatter Brook, says he, an climb the hill from behind.Every Man for Himself
Now quite unexpectedly we saw the "tatter of scarlet" from a new angle.A Tatter of Scarlet
S. R. Crockett
Was a tatter't boggart, in a field, an' that they left behind.
- to make or become ragged or worn to shreds
- (plural) torn or ragged pieces, esp of material
- in tatters
- torn to pieces; in shreds
- destroyed or ruined
C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic töturr rag, Old English tættec, Old High German zæter rag
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
Word Origin and History for tatter
mid-14c., "clad in slashed garments," from Old Norse toturr "rag," cognate with Old English tættec, tætteca "rag, tatter," Low German tater "tatter." The noun is attested from c.1400.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper