adjective, tat·ti·er, tat·ti·est.

cheap or tawdry; vulgar: a tatty production of a Shakespearean play.
shabby or ill-kempt; ragged; untidy: an old house with dirty windows and tatty curtains.

Origin of tatty

1505–15; tat rag (probably back formation from tatter1) + -y1
Related formstat·ti·ly, adverbtat·ti·ness, noun



or tat·tie


noun, plural tat·ties.

(in India) a screen, usually made of coarse, fragrant fibers, placed over a window or door and kept moistened with water in order to cool and deodorize the room.

Origin of tatty

First recorded in 1785–95, tatty is from the Hindi word ṭaṭṭī
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tatty

Contemporary Examples of tatty

  • Amidst the detritus of old amplifiers, beaten up electric guitars and drum kits was a tatty white plastic bag.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Lost Madonna Tapes

    Andrew Morton

    October 20, 2008

Historical Examples of tatty

British Dictionary definitions for tatty


adjective -tier or -tiest

mainly British worn out, shabby, tawdry, or unkempt
Derived Formstattily, adverbtattiness, noun

Word Origin for tatty

C16: of Scottish origin, probably related to Old English tættec a tatter
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 tatty

1510s, "tangled or matted" (of hair), Scottish, probably related to Old English tættec "a rag" (see tatter). Sense of "tattered, ragged, shabby" first recorded 1933.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper