Definition of in tatters in US English:

in tatters


  • 1Torn in many places; in shreds.

    ‘wallpaper hung in tatters’
    • ‘Sporting a brave front, he put on his battle gear: a worn-out helmet, its straps in tatters.’
    • ‘They can't just leave it in tatters on the floor.’
    • ‘A grey-bearded Ecuadorian tramp shuffled past, scooping himself a cup of water out of the central fountain, his trousers in tatters around him.’
    • ‘Her sleeves were in tatters, the worn cotton having merely given way to greater force.’
    • ‘And half of the flowers were in tatters, torn by the frenzy of legs and wings.’
    • ‘One passing eyewitness saw the youths swinging from shop front lettering in the small hours, lettering which now hangs in tatters.’
    • ‘He dragged her from the bedroom and, after she fled downstairs, the attack continued until he eventually pushed her out of the house bare foot and with her clothes in tatters.’
    ragged, torn, ripped, frayed, split, tattered, in shreds, in bits, in pieces, worn down, worn out, worn to shreds, moth-eaten, falling to pieces, threadbare
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    1. 1.1 Destroyed; ruined.
      ‘the ceasefire was in tatters within hours’
      • ‘It was argued that business would be destroyed and the town's economic future would be in tatters.’
      • ‘The country was carved up among rival militia, the economy was in ruins and the social fabric in tatters.’
      • ‘He said his plans to stand as a councillor and start a political career were in tatters because he had been branded a ‘criminal who misuses firearms’.’
      • ‘Hence Europe at war's end was in tatters, Britain was virtually bankrupt, Germany destroyed, and Japan on its knees.’
      • ‘Yet within a few years, John's reputation was in tatters.’
      • ‘By July, the dream of a smokeless bar was in tatters.’
      • ‘For fifty years there was no economic progression and by the time that Latvia broke free from the Soviet Union in 1991 its economy was in tatters.’
      • ‘The chariots will carry England home, but not in the fashion they expected - instead with dreams of their twelfth Grand Slam in tatters.’
      • ‘With the school's championship finals looming and Jimmy's confidence in tatters once more, his dreams of being spotted by a City talent scout look distant.’
      • ‘Our alliances around the world with other countries that we rely on to help us have been shredded and left in tatters around the globe.’
      ruined, in ruins, on the rocks, destroyed, finished, shattered, demolished, devastated, in disarray
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