[ tat-er ]
/ ˈtæt ər /


a torn piece hanging loose from the main part, as of a garment or flag.
a separate torn piece; shred.
tatters, torn or ragged clothing: dressed in rags and tatters.

verb (used with object)

to tear or wear to tatters.

verb (used without object)

to become ragged.

Origin of tatter

1375–1425; (noun) late Middle English < Old Norse tǫturr rag, tatter; akin to Old English tætteca rag, shred; (v.) back formation from tattered
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tattering


/ (ˈtætə) /


to make or become ragged or worn to shreds


(plural) torn or ragged pieces, esp of material
in tatters
  1. torn to pieces; in shreds
  2. destroyed or ruined

Word Origin for tatter

C14: of Scandinavian origin; compare Icelandic töturr rag, Old English tættec, Old High German zæter rag
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