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[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


or tattie

[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.
1785-95; < Hindi ṭaṭṭī Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tatty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then tatty sat down and wept; then a three-legged stool said: "tatty, why do you weep?"

    Children's Literature Charles Madison Curry
  • Then tatty sat down and wept, and a three-legged stool said: "tatty, why do you weep?"

  • "Titty Mouse and tatty Mouse" also ends in a universal calamity which seems to arise from a cause of no great importance.

  • Titty and tatty are among the many rhyming compounds of which the meaning is no longer clear.

  • Titty Mouse went a-gleaning, and tatty Mouse went a-gleaning.

    English Fairy Tales Flora Annie Steel
  • Titty Mouse gleaned an ear of corn, and tatty Mouse gleaned an ear of corn.

    English Fairy Tales Flora Annie Steel
  • But when Titty went to put hers in, the pot tumbled over, and scalded her to death, and tatty sat down and wept.

    English Fairy Tales Flora Annie Steel
British Dictionary definitions for tatty


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
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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
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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.
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