verb (used without object)
  1. to make a loud, rattling sound, as that produced by hard objects striking rapidly one against the other: The shutters clattered in the wind.
  2. to move rapidly with such a sound: The iron-wheeled cart clattered down the street.
  3. to talk fast and noisily; chatter: They clattered on and on about their children.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to clatter: clattering the pots and pans in the sink.
  1. a rattling noise or series of rattling noises: The stagecoach made a terrible clatter going over the wooden bridge.
  2. noisy disturbance; din; racket.
  3. noisy talk; din of voices: They had to shout over the clatter at the cocktail party.
  4. 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 formsclat·ter·er, nounclat·ter·ing·ly, adverbclat·ter·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clattering

Contemporary Examples of clattering

  • Within a navy blue duffel bag were clattering bone-hued beads, amulets, and bracelets.

    The Daily Beast logo
    China’s Blood Ivory Bazaar

    Brendon Hong

    June 30, 2014

  • The sound made by clattering plates restores him to a restaurant where dined with his friend killed in the war.

    The Daily Beast logo
    David's Bookclub: Time Regained

    David Frum

    April 8, 2013

Historical Examples of clattering

  • But it was only the strange man Geryon clattering onward, with his six legs!

    The Three Golden Apples

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • There came a clattering of hoofs on the road and the sound of male voices.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Then there was a clattering on the cement floor as of a million arrows.

  • I was sitting by the window when I heard the clattering of their carriage.

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • The pasteboard boxes went to the floor in a clattering rush.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for clattering


  1. to make or cause to make a rattling noise, esp as a result of movement
  2. (intr) to chatter
  1. a rattling sound or noise
  2. a noisy commotion, such as one caused by loud chatter
Derived Formsclatterer, nounclatteringly, adverbclattery, adjective

Word Origin for clatter

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

Word Origin and History for clattering



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