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 731476803:
      “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 []



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 readingEdit