Definition of ratty in US English:



  • 1Resembling or characteristic of a rat.

    ‘his ratty eyes glittered’
    • ‘He is also probably quite ratty at this time because he is moulting.’
    • ‘Does she still have those ratty little Yorkshire terrier dogs?’
    • ‘It doesn't have any of these snarly, ratty, great farfisa sounds that the real instrument did.’
    • ‘He has lost his right testicle and his luxuriant mullet but has somehow managed to cling on to his ratty little moustache.’
    • ‘He used the next field over with these ratty little kids and they were all running, throwing this one little ball around.’
    • ‘A soft smile crossed his ratty countenance as he pulled up the rear of the patrol.’
    • ‘The small, ratty man ran down the pavement, his wife at his heels, and darted past a small ice cream parlor.’
    • ‘His lips peel back to make way for a giggle, a ratty staccato, something up from a drain.’
    • ‘It is impossible not to watch the film without remembering what will happen, but then this is as much about Max and his world as it is about a ratty little Austrian whom Liselore finds repulsive.’
    • ‘When James found her she was just some ratty bird dog on the side of some country back road.’
    • ‘Remember, the mop of hair I was sporting was essentially a very, very long men's haircut, so it did have a tendency to look a little ratty on occasion.’
    • ‘Flustered, she declines, and the whole thing is seen by Henderson's ex-boyfriend, a ratty bad-boy type played by Robert Carlyle.’
    1. 1.1 (of a place) infested with rats.
      • ‘The session was held at 2263 Mission Street in San Francisco, a ratty storefront theater in a rundown area of the city that had a folding grid gate barring the entrance from the public.’
      • ‘Pulling up in front of a ratty looking house on the poor side of town.’
      • ‘If you've ever asked yourself who stays in ratty motels off the highway next to malls, with Walmarts as the high shopping, here is the answer.’
      • ‘Thank god for foul-smelling German army jackets bought in moments in weakness from ratty markets in Berlin.’
      • ‘Hidden amidst the towering buildings at the outermost edge of the city lay a small, ratty karaoke bar that seems to seek shelter from the raging thunderstorm, its shingled roof rattling harshly.’
      • ‘Which is why, on its first run, to London, it was like a blue and white Pied Piper trailing a stream of ratty hatches in its wake.’
      • ‘Broken down trailers and ratty houses lined the street.’
      • ‘His 14 ratty rooms are among the most luxurious accommodations for visitors to Ghadames' ancient town of mud houses and dark, twisting passageways.’
      • ‘There were no large buildings here, only trailer parks and ratty houses.’
      • ‘We moved into this ratty space over an electric store downtown [in Manhattan].’
    2. 1.2informal Shabby, untidy or in bad condition.
      ‘a ratty old armchair’
      • ‘Inside, two ratty couches and an old rug furnish the main meeting area.’
      • ‘He can walk into the chicest and fanciest restaurant wearing his favorite old ratty T-shirt and jeans and nobody bats an eye.’
      • ‘When I shave my hair in a Mohawk, toss on a pair of cut-offs and a ratty U.W. Madison t-shirt, however, I'm instantly recognizable as a gringo.’
      • ‘She whispers, ‘I'm a little cold,’ and I grab a ratty old sleeping bag I have in the truck for this very purpose.’
      • ‘She had no taste in fashion and always wore old ratty clothes.’
      • ‘I slipped into a faded pair of blue jeans and a ratty old t-shirt.’
      • ‘Even if it was a ratty old couch, it was still pretty comfortable.’
      • ‘Ideally there will be lyrics about their ratty bathrobes at some point, but I'm not picky, cause hey, I'm all about the glitz.’
      • ‘By her features they were slim and small under that old ratty coat.’
      • ‘I pulled up in front of an old and ratty home/office.’
      • ‘Cold, bare concrete floor, one to two small, ratty wool blankets.’
      • ‘Suddenly the ratty old sixties sofa that came with the flat is starting to look quite comfy.’
      • ‘In the center of the room was a knot of ratty blankets, and torn men's clothes, both dotted with blood.’
      • ‘I had a ratty orange sweater that I loved to death in high school and I accidentally wore it on Saint Patrick's Day.’
      • ‘I'm just glad I used my ratty old duffel bag and not my Pradas, Guccis and Louis Vuittons…’
      • ‘I'll use it once this one gets too ratty and old to be used anymore.’
      • ‘I felt cold in my ratty old nightshirt with the holes in it.’
      • ‘He was dressed in a ratty T-shirt and running shorts.’
      • ‘She had put on her junky jeans that had holes and tears in it along with her ratty old black T-shirt.’
      • ‘He's the guy who perhaps lives in the tiny studio apartment next door - that has mice - and he's got one good suit, but it's kinda ratty.’
      • ‘Never mind the stupid knee-jerk reaction of mom and dad, never mind the pretty/rich = good, ratty / poor = bad dichotomy.’
      • ‘How can I keep my suit from getting all ratty so fast?’
      shabby, well worn, worn, worn to shreds, threadbare, tattered, in tatters, in ribbons, in rags, in holes, holey, falling to pieces, falling apart at the seams, ragged, frayed, patched, moth-eaten, faded, seedy, shoddy, sorry, scruffy, dilapidated, crumbling, broken-down, run down, tumbledown, decrepit, deteriorated, on its last legs, having seen better days, time-worn
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  • 2British informal predicative (of a person) bad-tempered and irritable.

    ‘I was ratty with the children’
    • ‘He has been visibly ratty about his inability to get the media to follow his agenda.’
    • ‘Ok, off the soapbox Mr M, it's late and I'm tired and ratty.’
    • ‘As the world's least patient person, I get extremely ratty when the till operator is working in slow motion.’
    • ‘When I am sounding tired and ratty, stop demanding favours.’
    • ‘I got told today to stop being so ratty to customers, even when they are at their most ignorant.’
    • ‘‘Hmmph, you're in a ratty mood’ my mum just said.’
    • ‘We're both sleep deprived and getting really ratty with one another.’
    • ‘While I'm in a bit of a ratty mood, does anybody want to have a guess about which smug London-based website e-mailed me overnight?’
    • ‘She couldn't get conformable to begin with and then just got over tired and ratty.’
    • ‘Tomm was a bit ratty on Christmas eve but he seems fine, just a bit sniffly at the moment.’
    • ‘It makes me ratty now and again, and I say, ‘Pull your finger out and do it quickly; don't do it in Glyndebourne time, do it fast.’’
    • ‘So cranky and ratty was I, the friend even vowed she would never go shopping with me again - yeah, yeah!’
    • ‘Couldn't get comfortable in bed, but managed to get to sleep, and I've woken up with the pain as bad as ever and feeling very ratty.’
    • ‘Did he write it before breakfast and so his low blood sugar levels made him a bit ratty?’
    • ‘I used to get ratty and shout ‘read a book’ whenever I heard a child moan that he was bored.’
    • ‘So what can we hear now, the morning after the rush has worn off, now that we've feeling ratty and irritable?’
    • ‘Perhaps they enjoy hearing me sound all ratty and scratchy, trying to be polite in the name of friendship.’
    • ‘Remind me not to read things when I'm tired and ratty, as I am prone to misinterpretation.’
    • ‘I'll be tired and ratty today, and fine tomorrow.’
    • ‘Labour MP gets ratty over political vermin quip’
    • ‘You can't read body language on the radio, but if ‘voice language’ is anything to go by, Tamaki was getting a tad ratty.’
    irritable, irascible, fractious, fretful, cross, petulant, pettish, crabbed, crabby, crotchety, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, disagreeable, miserable, morose, peppery, on edge, edgy, impatient, complaining, querulous
    irritated, annoyed, cross, angry, vexed, exasperated, irked, piqued, displeased, put out, fed up, disgruntled, in a bad mood, in a temper, testy, in high dudgeon, huffy, in a huff, resentful, aggrieved
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