Things that remind you of a rat are ratty, and so are things that are generally worn and shabby. Your sister's pet ferret might make you jump when it peers out from behind the ratty old sofa with its ratty little eyes.

If your attic is inhabited by a huge, multi-generational family of rats, it's ratty too. Whether this adjective is used to mean "looking like a rat," "full of rats," or "decrepit and dirty," it's negative. The same is generally true for rat itself, which refers to the rodent but also figuratively means "liar" or "traitor." The root of rat and ratty is unknown.

Definitions of ratty
  1. adjective
    of or characteristic of rats
  2. adjective
    dirty and infested with rats
    dirty, soiled, unclean
    soiled or likely to soil with dirt or grime
  3. adjective
    showing signs of wear and tear
    “a ratty old overcoat”
    synonyms: moth-eaten, raggedy, shabby, tatty
    affected by wear; damaged by long use
Word Family