Word of the Day Archive
Wednesday November 24, 2004
tattoo \ta-TOO\ , noun:
1. A rapid, rhythmic drumming or rapping.
2. A beat of a drum, or sound of a trumpet or bugle, giving notice to soldiers to go to their quarters at night.
3. A display of military exercises given as evening entertainment.
Joss blew out her breath, stamped her feet in a short tattoo, and sat jiggling one leg.
-- John Casey, The Half-life of Happiness
There are more golf courses per person in Naples than anywhere else in the world, and in spite of the hot, angry weather everyone around the hotel was dressed to play, their cleated shoes tapping out a clickety-clickety-clickety tattoo on the sidewalks.
-- Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief
With a steady tattoo of bad news beginning to offset what had been one of the most vibrant parts of the U.S. economy, "we are less optimistic than we were two months ago about the speed of the bounce back," Mr. Williams said.
-- Eduardo Porter, "California's Economic Slowdown Is Expected to Last Much Longer", Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2001
Tattoo is an alteration of earlier taptoo, from Dutch taptoe, "a tap(house)-shut," from tap, "faucet" + toe, "shut" -- meaning, essentially, that the tavern is about to shut.