[tat-er-di-meyl-yuh n, -mal-]
- a person in tattered clothing; a shabby person.
- ragged; unkempt or dilapidated.
Origin of tatterdemalion
1600–10; first written tatter-de-mallian and rhymed with Italian; see tatter1; -de-mallian < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tatterdemalion
Look at that tatterdemalion, and think how came he by such notions.'Gerald Fitzgerald
Charles James Lever
There, at the corner near the learned Club-house, halts the tatterdemalion.
The tatterdemalion is quicker still; fled like a guilty thought.
Towards the tatterdemalion the policeman now advances quickly.
With a stern glance Stonor kept the tatterdemalion crowd at bay.The Woman from Outside
- a person dressed in ragged clothes
- (as modifier)a tatterdemalion dress
C17: from tatter + -demalion, of uncertain origin
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 tatterdemalion
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper