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[ra-tan, ruh-] /ræˈtæn, rə-/
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.
Also, ratan.
Origin of rattan
1650-60; by uncertain mediation < Malay rotan, alleged to derive from rout scrape off, with -an nominalizing suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rattan
  • Dawn mists cling to the leaves of ginger and mango trees erupting out of a tangle of ferns, rattan and yam vines.
  • Larger rooms include a small table with rattan chairs.
  • The bungalows have spa bathrooms, air conditioning and rattan and teak furniture.
  • The central lounge reeks of smoke, and the rattan furnishings of the sidewalk grill are unraveling.
  • The guest rooms open onto the ocean and are furnished in a light, contemporary style, often with rattan pieces.
  • The arms are teak, and the seat and back are made of synthetic rattan.
British Dictionary definitions for rattan


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
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for rattan

1650s, from Malay rotan, from raut "to trim, strip, peel, pare."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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