or rat-a-tat-tat

[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. 2019

Examples from the Web for rat-a-tat-tat

Contemporary Examples of rat-a-tat-tat

Historical Examples of rat-a-tat-tat

  • 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!

British Dictionary definitions for rat-a-tat-tat


rat-a-tat (ˈrætəˈtæt)


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

Word Origin and History for rat-a-tat-tat


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper