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tatterdemalion

[tat-er-di-meyl-yuh n, -mal-] /ˌtæt ər dɪˈmeɪl yən, -ˈmæl-/
noun
1.
a person in tattered clothing; a shabby person.
adjective
2.
ragged; unkempt or dilapidated.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; first written tatter-de-mallian and rhymed with Italian; see tatter1; -de-mallian < ?
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tatterdemalion
  • Rumor is an evanescent and mendacious tatterdemalion.
  • They were a tatterdemalion lot of soldiers and no mistake.
  • The tatterdemalion group possesses no home but that of the daily grazing land of the flock.
British Dictionary definitions for tatterdemalion

tatterdemalion

/ˌtætədɪˈmeɪljən; -ˈmæl-/
noun
1.
(rare)
  1. a person dressed in ragged clothes
  2. (as modifier): a tatterdemalion dress
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for tatterdemalion
n.

"ragged child, person dressed in old clothes," c.1600, probably from tatter, with fantastic second element, but perhaps also suggested by Tartar, with a contemporary sense of "vagabond, gypsy."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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