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tatter1

[tat-er] /ˈtæt ər/
noun
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)
4.
to tear or wear to tatters.
verb (used without object)
5.
to become ragged.
Origin of tatter1
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; (noun) late Middle English < Old Norse tǫturr rag, tatter; akin to Old English tætteca rag, shred; (v.) back formation from tattered

tatter2

[tat-er] /ˈtæt ər/
noun
1.
a person who does tatting, especially as an occupation.
Origin
1880-85; tat + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tatters
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There are my bureau drawers—I can't keep them neat, and my clothes would be all in tatters if it were not for Edith and mamma.

  • I forgot all my tatters and stood on tiptoe in the stirrups to overpeer the fence-row.

    The Cavalier George Washington Cable
  • tatters ran up but received a kick, while Glendon dropped the gold-laden bags with a dull thud on the floor.

    The Long Dim Trail Forrestine C. Hooker
  • The last fragment of self-respect, of bravado even, was in tatters.

  • And now I bethink me, those poachers' tatters sit very ill on your long carcass.

    Humphrey Bold Herbert Strang
British Dictionary definitions for tatters

tatter

/ˈtætə/
verb
1.
to make or become ragged or worn to shreds
noun
2.
(pl) torn or ragged pieces, esp of material
3.
in tatters
  1. torn to pieces; in shreds
  2. destroyed or ruined
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for tatters

tatter

v.

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
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7
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