Definition of tatty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtadē/

adjective (tattier, tattiest)

1Worn and shabby; in poor condition: the room was furnished in slightly tatty upholstered furniture
More example sentences
  • It's all very well saying that a worn and tatty book got that way because it's been well used, and continues to be well used, but they don't look good on my new shelves.
  • The furniture is tatty and the books looked about as appetising as goods in a car boot sale.
  • Phased cuts in educational expenditure as part of Structural Adjustment Programmes left buildings in a tatty, dangerous and unsanitary condition.
1.1Of poor quality: his gap-toothed smile and tatty haircut
More example sentences
  • The tents which are dotted about, range from top mountaineering quality to tatty improvised structures made of bamboo and straw.
  • Tweed, tatty hair-cuts, lots of comb-overs, ruddy cheeks, red fleshy ears and the most enormous blue velour rosettes abound.
  • There are, I concede, more deserving causes than ‘hack forced to eat sub-standard food in tatty restaurant at someone else's expense’.



Pronunciation: /ˈtadəlē/
Example sentences
  • Looking tattily elegant, and hoping I'll be safe from stings, I climb a ladder and examine the swarm.
  • Dr Fox reckons she looks a ‘tad’ out of place, and a ‘tad’ tattily dressed.
  • It's rather terrible - not the worst that would emerge from this subgenre, but one that is fairly tattily made on most counts.


Pronunciation: /ˈtadēnəs/
Example sentences
  • But much of the 1960s furniture, in its tattiness, looks pretty real.
  • The second chugs slowly and noisily between Glasgow and Edinburgh with that inevitable air of impending tattiness.
  • Despite their undeniable tattiness, the Confessions films still enjoy an ardent fan following.


Early 16th century (originally Scots, in the sense 'tangled, matted, shaggy'): apparently ultimately related to Old English tættec 'rag', of Germanic origin; compare with tattered.

  • tattered from Middle English:

    Like tag, tattered is first found relating to the medieval fashion for slashed clothing, in the sense ‘dressed in decoratively slashed or jagged clothing’. Tatter ‘scrap of cloth’ comes from Old Norse tǫtrar ‘rags’. Tatty (early 16th century), originally Scots for ‘tangled, matted, shaggy’, is related, and was shortened to tat ‘worthless articles in the mid 19th century.

Words that rhyme with tatty

batty, bratty, catty, chatty, Cincinnati, Dolcelatte, fatty, flattie, Hattie, natty, patty, ratty, Satie, Scarlatti, scatty, Tati, tattie

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tat·ty

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