- Also called rattan palm. any of various climbing palms of the genus Calamus or allied genera.
- the tough stems of such palms, used for wickerwork, canes, etc.
- a stick or switch of this material.
Origin of rattan
1650–60; by uncertain mediation < Malay rotan, alleged to derive from rout scrape off, with -an nominalizing suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for rattan
As the marines followed Green in, led by Major Russell with his rattan cane, one of them was shot in the face, and another killed.When Robert E. Lee Met John Brown and Saved the Union
May 15, 2014
He walked to the jetty and began casting off the rattan painter of his canoe.Almayer's Folly
The fastenings of the entire work were of rattan, which is found in plenty.The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido
The Paymaster's rattan sounded on the stair, and "Here's John," said his sister.
The Paymaster took his rattan and knocked noisily on the table for the landlord.
There may be a couch, or more of them, of bamboo and rattan.Four Young Explorers
- any of the climbing palms of the genus Calamus and related genera, having tough stems used for wickerwork and canes
- the stems of such plants collectively
- a stick made from one of these stems
C17: from Malay rōtan
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 rattan
1650s, from Malay rotan, from raut "to trim, strip, peel, pare."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper