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verb rat·tle \ˈra-təl\

Definition of rattle

rat·tledrat·tling play \ˈrat-liŋ, ˈra-təl-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a rapid succession of short sharp noises <the windows rattled in the wind>

  3. 2 :  to chatter incessantly and aimlessly

  4. 3 :  to move with a clatter or rattle; also :  to be or move about in a place or station too large or grand <rattled around the big old house>

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1 :  to say, perform, or affect in a brisk lively fashion <rattled off four magnificent backhands — Kim Chapin>

  7. 2 :  to cause to make a rattling sound

  8. 3 :  rouse; specifically :  to beat (a cover) for game

  9. 4 :  to upset especially to the point of loss of poise and composure :  disturb

Origin of rattle

Middle English ratelen; akin to Middle Dutch ratel rattle

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of rattle

embarrass, discomfit, abash, disconcert, rattle mean to distress by confusing or confounding. embarrass implies some influence that impedes thought, speech, or action <embarrassed to admit that she liked the movie>. discomfit implies a hampering or frustrating accompanied by confusion <hecklers discomfited the speaker>. abash presupposes some initial self-confidence that receives a sudden check, producing shyness, shame, or a feeling of inferiority <abashed by her swift and cutting retort>. disconcert implies an upsetting of equanimity or assurance producing uncertainty or hesitancy <disconcerted by finding so many in attendance>. rattle implies an agitation that impairs thought and judgment <rattled by all the television cameras>.

Rhymes with rattle



noun rat·tle

Simple Definition of rattle

  • : a series of short, loud sounds

  • : a baby's toy that makes a series of short sounds when it is shaken

  • : the group of hard, loose pieces (called scales) that cover the end of a rattlesnake's tail

Full Definition of rattle

  1. 1 a :  a device that produces a rattle; specifically :  a case containing pellets used as a baby's toy b :  the sound-producing organ on a rattlesnake's tail

  2. 2 a :  a rapid succession of sharp clattering sounds b :  noise, racket

  3. 3 :  death rattle

Examples of rattle

  1. <I'd go nuts if I had to endure the rattle of that bottling plant every day.>


First Known Use of rattle




verb rat·tle

Definition of rattle

rat·tledrat·tling play \ˈrat-liŋ, ˈra-təl-iŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to furnish with ratlines

Origin of rattle

irregular from ratline

First Known Use: 1729

Medical Dictionary


noun rat·tle \ˈrat-əl\

Medical Definition of rattle

  1. 1:  the sound-producing organ on a rattlesnake's tail

  2. 2:  a throat noise caused by air passing through mucus; specifically :  death rattle—compare rale, rhonchus

Seen and Heard

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February 9, 2016

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