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See also: Rattan and råttan


Rattan palm with fruits.
Baskets made of rattan.


Borrowed from Malay rotan.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹəˈtan/, /ˈɹatan/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹəˈtæn/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æn


rattan (countable and uncountable, plural rattans)

  1. Any of several species of climbing palm of the genus Calamus.
  2. (uncountable) The plant used as a material for making furniture, baskets etc.
    • 2019, Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys, Fleet, page 180:
      It took Elwood an hour to find Mr. Gladwell, who sat in a big rattan chair at the edge of the sweet potato fields.
  3. (by extension) A cane made from this material.
    • 1906, Walter William Skeat, Charles Otto Blagden, Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula:
      He who first acts as striker asks the other how many blows of the rattan he will bear on his forearm without crying out.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      “My Continental prominence is improving,” I commented dryly. ¶ Von Lindowe cut at a furze bush with his silver-mounted rattan. ¶ “Quite so,” he said as dryly, his hand at his mustache. “I may say if your intentions were known your life would not be worth a curse.”
    • 2008, Jean-François Bayart, Andrew Brown, Global Subjects: A Political Critique of Globalization:
      [] the rattan is still a valued instrument of discipline []

Derived terms[edit]



rattan (third-person singular simple present rattans, present participle rattaning, simple past and past participle rattaned)

  1. (transitive) To beat with a rattan cane.
    • 1915, Edward Walford, George Latimer Apperson, The Antiquary, volume 51, page 56:
      Meanwhile Captain Colville rattaned Pearson very severely []

Further reading[edit]