Definition of clatter in English:



  • A continuous rattling sound as of hard objects falling or striking each other.

    ‘the horse spun round with a clatter of hooves’
    • ‘It was almost silent in there, other than the occasional shrill outburst of a young child, or the clatter of a fork falling to the ground.’
    • ‘He wanted to live with the clatter of dishes when entertaining.’
    • ‘There was a clatter of footsteps in the corridor, the thud of boots on the stairs.’
    • ‘The distant clatter of a milk van revives a long-lost, though momentary, reverie.’
    • ‘The sound of silence was gently broken by the distant clatter of horse hooves.’
    • ‘The clatter of dishes stopped as she grew suddenly still.’
    • ‘Apart from some diesel clatter at low speeds, the engine fades away into the background.’
    • ‘He threw his knife to the floor with a sharp clatter of metal on stone.’
    • ‘My gun dropped to the floor with a muffled clatter.’
    • ‘I heard it hit the ground with a metallic clatter.’
    • ‘Emily woke up and flinched when she heard the loud clatter from the kitchen.’
    • ‘You could say that the only sound was the cling and clatter of eating utensils hitting the porcelain plates.’
    • ‘What then was making such a clatter in the kitchen?’
    • ‘In the narrow corridor, their ears picked up the clatter of footsteps.’
    • ‘He shivers slightly, his teeth giving a faint clatter, and he winds his arms together over his chest.’
    • ‘The clatter of cutlery and banter filled the hall.’
    • ‘The clatter of cutlery or the sound of high-pitched voices can be positively painful.’
    • ‘There was a sudden clatter and I turned to stare at the couple in surprise.’
    • ‘Its attempts at reducing diesel clatter and eliminating turbo lag have been extremely effective.’
    • ‘The gun dropped with a noisy clatter from her hand.’
    uproar, racket, loud noise, confused noise, commotion, cacophony, babel, hubbub, tumult, fracas, clangour, crash, clatter, clash
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  • 1Make or cause to make a continuous rattling sound.

    no object ‘her coffee cup clattered in the saucer’
    with object ‘she clattered cups and saucers on to a tray’
    • ‘If you roll over at night everything behind you clatters and rattles.’
    • ‘The cotton mills of Bolton no longer clatter with the sound of looms, but they provided the town with a worldwide heritage.’
    • ‘That honour goes to the young Rottweiler who clatters its claws against a passenger window and barks loudly as you approach.’
    • ‘We started to go through the kitchen, to the back door, but we heard clattering and muttering.’
    • ‘The table fell silent except for the sound of utensils clattering against our best china.’
    • ‘She could hear her mother clattering about in the kitchen.’
    • ‘I could hear dishes clattering faintly in the distance.’
    • ‘But he pulled his kick wide of the right hand post, having earlier clattered a post with a conversion.’
    • ‘As I walked across the fields I could hear sounds of dishes clattering and chatter could be heard inside the palace walls.’
    • ‘The Oxford driver understeered heavily off the road and clattered a milestone damaging the front of the car and wrecking the radiator.’
    • ‘I shifted and the chains clattered; the crisp sounds echoed in the silent office.’
    • ‘Where is the ancient music of mothers clattering their saucepan lids down Whitehall for their rights?’
    • ‘The water level had risen three of four metres and we could hear people running and shouting and banging and clattering.’
    • ‘Then clattering drums liable to cause clubland consternation start up, sounding like they're trying to lock into a pattern.’
    • ‘He reached the table and took a seat, hearing dishes clatter a bit.’
    • ‘Inside there was a squeak and the sound of something clattering, then the door swung open to slam against the bathroom wall.’
    • ‘He stopped at the closed door, surprised to hear clattering and shattering from within.’
    • ‘Tomorrow the banging and clattering overhead will resume as the last of the slate tiles are laid, followed by the ridge tiles.’
    • ‘Then he jumps behind his kit and clatters away in ecstasy.’
    • ‘The resident cats of the time didn't much like the hissing and spluttering and clattering the device made as it brewed a new jugful, but they came round in the end.’
    rattle, clank, clink, clunk, clang, bang
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    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction Fall or move with a clatter.
      ‘they heard Sybil's shoes clattering up the stone steps’
      ‘the knife clattered to the floor’
      • ‘Her pen fell out of her fingers and clattered noisily onto the table.’
      • ‘She was thinking about going back home when she heard hooves clatter on the bridge.’
      • ‘She bumped into the shelf, and a few books clattered around us.’
      • ‘As he does the phone slips from his grasp and clatters to the pavement.’
      • ‘He remembered the sound produced by balls clattering off toys.’
      • ‘He slowly lowered it, released the clip and let the gun clatter to the floor.’
      • ‘The train we'd caught was one of those ones with three carriages that clatters across the countryside and stops everywhere.’
      • ‘He let the sword clatter to the ground.’
      • ‘The knife clattered on the counter as he dropped it and turned to face me.’
      • ‘The mugger's dagger clattered against the pavement.’
      • ‘I heard the footsteps clatter down the stairs and I slid down the next railing.’
      • ‘The sword clattered across the ground as it slid to a halt.’
      • ‘Her footsteps clattered up the stairs, and in a minute she rushed into the room.’
      • ‘Someone suddenly dived into the man, and the blade clattered noisily to the floor.’
      • ‘Both spoons clattered down onto the plates causing milk to splash everywhere.’
      • ‘I jumped when a lunch tray clattered onto the table I was sitting at.’
      • ‘The sounds of horse hooves clattering on the cobblestone streets and children laughing reached her ears.’
      • ‘He let the gun clatter to the floor, stepping back while shaking his head.’
      • ‘Somewhere in the distance the Colombo train clatters north through the night.’
      • ‘The horse's hooves clatter along the white, nicely layed rocks.’
    2. 1.2British informal with object (of a soccer player) foul (an opponent)
      ‘Bennett clattered Coleman ten yards out from goal’
      no object ‘Thatcher clattered into Beckham’
      • ‘Mascherano has just clattered Osorio dead straight in front of goal about 35 yards out with three minutes left on the clock!’
      • ‘Harshly, Nikiforov receives a booking for clattering Nakata on the edge of the area.’
      • ‘Fernando Morientes is the first to get clattered, by Marcel Desailly in midfield.’
      • ‘Poor old Victor gets clattered again, this time by an accidental elbow from Nuno Valente.’
      • ‘Ferdinand's intentions are not an issue, any more than intention is an issue when you clatter someone in the penalty area.’
      • ‘They had just gone 1-up and there was only a minute or so left when Pavlovic clattered into the back of me.’
      • ‘Scott Parker clatters a Stuttgart player on the touchline - not the first meaty tackle the chippy former Charlton midfielder has put in tonight.’
      • ‘He clattered into Addo, conceding a free 25 yards out.’
      • ‘Lee Chun Soo has just received a yellow card for clattering into Gattuso.’
      • ‘The pattern of play was quickly established, however, when Holt clattered into Jon Keith in the second minute.’
      • ‘Play was held up in added time when Roberts and Abbey clattered into each other both going for a clearing header.’
      • ‘Michael Ball clatters Alexander Hleb for the second or third time - he'd want to be careful or he'll get booked.’
      • ‘From the free-kick, Jenas breaks and lays it into the box for Bellamy, who clatters into DeBoer and falls over.’
      • ‘Prso makes his intentions known by clattering into Fukunishi.’
      • ‘Ilic and Van Nistelrooy had clattered into each other as the goalkeeper gathered a bouncing ball.’
      • ‘Either way, Al Jaber is the ungrateful recipient after clattering into the back of Joaquin.’
      • ‘Scholes floors Hakan Yakin with a tackle that couldn't have been any later if he'd clattered him in the showers after the game.’
      • ‘The referee played on but Crooks instantly clattered Connell to give Cummings a dead-ball chance from 25 yards which he wasted.’
      • ‘Yellow card for Frings, who's just clattered into Frank Lampard with his head.’
      • ‘Lizarazu gets booked for clattering Chris Sutton over on the right touchline.’


Old English (as a verb), of imitative origin.