Definition of pitter-patter in US English:



  • A sound as of quick light steps or taps.

    ‘the pitter-patter of tiny feet’
    • ‘The only sound I can hear is the soft pitter-patter of the rain against my window.’
    • ‘The air was full of pen scratches, clashes of minds, books being taken off and placed back onto shelves, and of the pitter-patter of soft footfalls.’
    • ‘It was a weak attempt to disguise the fluttering sensation in her stomach, the joyous pitter-patter of her heart, those oh-so confusing thoughts she found she didn't quite understand.’
    • ‘Inevitably, though, the squeals and pitter-patter of the burgeoning rodent families increased, and I gave in.’
    • ‘I could hear a soft pitter-patter of footsteps near the entrance of the hut.’
    • ‘He croaked, his voice hoarse with the dampness, as a pitter-patter of soft raindrops danced over their heads.’
    • ‘The pitter-patter of the monsoon might be a long wait ahead, but with a number of brightly painted umbrellas crowding its walls, this is a downpour of a different kind.’
    • ‘Suddenly, like the soft scampering of a mouse, there came a pitter-patter of small feet.’
    • ‘The soft pitter-patter of bare feet announced the arrival of the other two children in Nana's snug little foster home, nine-year-old Katriel and fourteen-year-old Nante.’
    • ‘Then she heard it: the soft pitter-patter of footsteps crunching through the snow behind her.’
    • ‘I was about to flee when I heard the pitter-patter of Patti Labelle's ‘Lady Marmalade’ begin.’
    • ‘The big applause he received drowned out the pitter-patter of his feet.’
    • ‘All the while, the pitter-patter of beats, the abstracted swish of rain-washed streets and murmur of German voices.’
    • ‘The rain started to run down harder, as the pitter-patter sounds of the showers got even louder.’
    • ‘Sure, there likely won't be any pitter-patter of little feet coming from that marriage, but so what?’
    • ‘Swarming follows with dancing vibes shadowed by the pitter-patter of an unpredictable electronic insect.’
    • ‘Grandmama, I hear the pitter-patter of footsteps.’
    • ‘I listened to the rain pitter-patter on the roof of the theatre.’
    • ‘Beauty is a cold, cloudy day, where all you hear is the soft pitter-patter of the falling rain.’
    • ‘Just then small pitter-patter of feet could be heard just above Turk's head.’
    patter, tapping, pattering, drumming, drumbeat, clatter, beat, beating, tattoo, pounding, throb, pulsation, rat-a-tat, pit-a-pat, clack, click-clack, clacketing, thrum, thrumming
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  • With the sound of quick light steps or taps.

    ‘footsteps that go pitter-patter’
    • ‘I think of you and my heart goes pitter-patter across the floor.’
    palpitate, pulse, throb, vibrate, pump, undulate, surge, heave, rise and fall, ebb and flow
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[no object]
  • Move with or make a pitter-patter sound.

    ‘the rain pitter-pattered on my windows’
    patter, tap, drum, clatter, beat, pound, rattle, throb, pulsate, rat-a-tat, go pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, clack, click-clack, thrum
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Late Middle English: reduplication (expressing rhythmic repetition) of the verb patter.