9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[tat-ee] /ˈtæt i/
adjective, tattier, tattiest.
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 tatty1
1505-15; tat rag (probably back formation from tatter1) + -y1
Related forms
tattily, adverb
tattiness, noun


[tat-ee] /ˈtæt i/
noun, plural tatties.
(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.
Also, tattie.
1785-95; < Hindi ṭaṭṭī Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for tatty
  • Sometimes a tatty garden space looks almost too dismal to tackle.
  • As in many such films, the awful costumes and tatty sets actually help the film's jokey atmosphere rather than hinder it.
  • The tatty old reception hall has already been transformed into an impressive welcome room.
  • It had looked tatty the first time, but now it looked tattier, as impermanent structures showed signs of wear and tear.
  • But at the outskirts of the capitals the prosperity fades out in bleak housing estates, tatty factories, bumpy roads.
British Dictionary definitions for tatty


noun (pl) -ties
a Scot or dialect word for potato


adjective -tier, -tiest
(mainly Brit) worn out, shabby, tawdry, or unkempt
Derived Forms
tattily, adverb
tattiness, noun
Word Origin
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for tatty


  1. A home run: the man who hit all those long taters in the American League/ Bolton insisted the outfield fences be moved in, thus allowing his own team's heavy hitters to launch their taters
  2. A potato: meat and taters/ Fry up some taters for lunch

[1960s+ Baseball; perhaps fr earlier Negro League use revived by George ''Boomer'' Scott when he joined the Boston Red Sox in 1966]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for tatty

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for tatty

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for tatty