[rat-uh-tat or rat-uh-tat-tat]
- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rat-a-tat
A little while after they heard a rat-a-tat at the garden door.
Then they heard a rat-a-tat, and the voice of their mother calling: 'Here!
It was probably that, with some of the shells in the rack, that made all that rat-a-tat.Sea-Hounds
Lewis R. Freeman
The other guns quickly took up the rat-a-tat; the range was sent to the other five guns.New Zealanders at Gallipoli
Major Fred Waite
Rat-a-tat, rat′-a-tat′, n. sound of repeated knocks, as of a drumstick.
Word Origin and History for rat-a-tat
1680s, echoic, originally of a cooper hammering tubs.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper