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be in tatters

1. Of a fabric, typically clothing, to be torn or worn into strips. You can't wear this jacket to dinner—it's in tatters!
2. By extension, to be in a ruined condition. The company was in tatters after the founding members resigned. Our relationship is in tatters. I have no idea how we could fix it.
See also: tatter

in tatters

In a ruined condition. (Used literally or figuratively.) You can't wear this jacket to dinner—it's in tatters! The company was in tatters after the founding members resigned.
See also: tatter
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

in tatters

Fig. in torn pieces of cloth. The poor man's clothes hung in tatters. The flag was in tatters after the storm.
See also: tatter
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

be in ˈtatters

1 (of clothes) be torn in many places: He got into a fight and came home with his clothes in tatters.
2 (of a plan, an idea, a person’s feelings, etc.) be ruined or badly damaged: She’s failed her exams, and now all her hopes of becoming a doctor are in tatters.His career and his reputation are both in tatters after the scandal.
See also: tatter
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in classic literature ?
Then after a short space they all three shot again, and once more each arrow lodged within the clout, but this time Adam o' the Dell's was farthest from the center, and again the tattered stranger's shot was the best.
Then the Sheriff came down from his dais and drew near, in all his silks and velvets, to where the tattered stranger stood leaning upon his stout bow, while the good folk crowded around to see the man who shot so wondrously well.
A score and more of barefoot friars were there, and some that looked like tinkers, and some that seemed to be sturdy beggars and rustic hinds; and seated upon a mossy couch was one all clad in tattered scarlet, with a patch over one eye; and in his hand he held the golden arrow that was the prize of the great shooting match.
I wonder that I did not have him beaten; but there was something about him that spoke of other things than rags and tatters."
don't tell the captain!" The unfortunate creature dropped the tattered old book, and beat both her hands on her head, with a look of blank terror fixed on the door.
And his breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners, and teas -- " She stopped, struck by a sudden recollection, looked about her, observed the tattered old book on the floor, and clasped her hands in despair.
Else, instead of a gallant gentleman in a gold-laced coat, thou wilt be but a jumble of sticks and tattered clothes, and a bag of straw, and a withered pumpkin!
Snatching the pipe from his mouth, he flung it with all his might against the chimney, and at the same instant sank upon the floor, a medley of straw and tattered garments, with some sticks protruding from the heap, and a shrivelled pumpkin in the midst.
From Tatter Travels to Punjabi Wolves, the Hatherton to Cannock, Telford and Kingswinford Wolves and many more, the independent travel clubs have excelled this year and been vital in getting our amazing support to the games.
People have asked if Tatter Travels would put on Europa League trips we were to make it there for next season.
side turns down Tatter peril stressform fear West of where serpentine
SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc has bought Korean blogging software developer Tatter and Company, the two companies said on Friday.
William Butler Yeats wrote, "An aged man is but a paltry thing; a tattered coat upon a stick, unless soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing; for every tatter in its mortal dress." In 1956 and 1957, my father's soul no longer sang at all.
Sukdev Tatter, Owner/Manager Sukdev Tatter Associates, Penny Chaffe, Tasty Pastry, Tom Arscott, Director, Tasty Pastry
Red Cloud has been actively preparing for the next commodity cycle by growing its resource-focused team to 27 employees, and to make way for the appointment and guidance of new Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Tatters.