See more synonyms for tatter on Thesaurus.com
  1. a torn piece hanging loose from the main part, as of a garment or flag.
  2. a separate torn piece; shred.
  3. tatters, torn or ragged clothing: dressed in rags and tatters.
verb (used with object)
  1. to tear or wear to tatters.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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. 2018

Related Words for tattering

tear, shave, sliver, unravel, erode, frazzle, cut, reduce, strip, fray, tatter, chafe, rub, rip, wear, ravel, fret

British Dictionary definitions for tattering


  1. to make or become ragged or worn to shreds
  1. (plural) torn or ragged pieces, esp of material
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for tattering



mid-14c., "clad in slashed garments," from Old Norse toturr "rag," cognate with Old English tættec, tætteca "rag, tatter," Low German tater "tatter." The noun is attested from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper