Definition of in tatters in US English:

in tatters


  • 1Torn in many places; in shreds.

    ‘wallpaper hung in tatters’
    • ‘Her sleeves were in tatters, the worn cotton having merely given way to greater force.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sporting a brave front, he put on his battle gear: a worn-out helmet, its straps in tatters.’
    • ‘A grey-bearded Ecuadorian tramp shuffled past, scooping himself a cup of water out of the central fountain, his trousers in tatters around him.’
    • ‘And half of the flowers were in tatters, torn by the frenzy of legs and wings.’
    • ‘They can't just leave it in tatters on the floor.’
    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’
      • ‘By July, the dream of a smokeless bar was in tatters.’
      • ‘Hence Europe at war's end was in tatters, Britain was virtually bankrupt, Germany destroyed, and Japan on its knees.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet within a few years, John's reputation was in tatters.’
      • ‘It was argued that business would be destroyed and the town's economic future would be 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The country was carved up among rival militia, the economy was in ruins and the social fabric 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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      ruined, in ruins, on the rocks, destroyed, finished, shattered, demolished, devastated, in disarray
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