verb (1)
rat·tle | \ ˈra-tᵊl \
rattled; rattling\ˈrat-liŋ, ˈra-tᵊl-iŋ \

Definition of rattle 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to make a rapid succession of short sharp noises the windows rattled in the wind

2 : to chatter incessantly and aimlessly

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

transitive verb

1 : to say, perform, or affect in a brisk lively fashion rattled off four magnificent backhands —Kim Chapin

2 : to cause to make a rattling sound

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

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



Definition of rattle (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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

2a : a rapid succession of sharp clattering sounds

b : noise, racket


verb (2)
rattled; rattling\ˈrat-liŋ, ˈra-tᵊl-iŋ \

Definition of rattle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to furnish with ratlines

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Synonyms & Antonyms for rattle

Synonyms: Noun

babel, blare, bluster, cacophony, chatter, clamor, clangor, din, discordance, noise, racket, roar

Antonyms: Noun

quiet, silence, silentness, still, stillness

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Choose the Right Synonym for rattle

Verb (1)

embarrass, discomfit, abash, disconcert, rattle mean to distress by confusing or confounding. embarrass implies some influence that impedes thought, speech, or action. The question embarrassed her so much she couldn't answer 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

Examples of rattle in a Sentence


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Suddenly, England was rattled and Croatia was resurgent. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Croatia tops England in extra time to reach World Cup final," 11 July 2018 Ben English, who lives near Northwood Park, has been awoken by rattling windows and booming jet sounds. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "For some in Anchorage, it’s been the summer of airplane noise. But just wait until next year.," 10 July 2018 The move is believed to be an attempt to rattle Foster, and push him into forcing a departure from the Midlands outfit. SI.com, "West Brom Reportedly Furious Following Watford's Measly £1m Bid for Ben Foster," 29 June 2018 At a cruise altitude of 60,000 feet, or about twice as high as conventional airliners, the booms won’t rattle windows and will be about as noisy as motorcycles or weed-wackers. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Future of Flying: Flights Could Be Getting Much Shorter," 19 June 2018 Johnson holed medium-length putts for birdies, a few nervy, short putts for par and picked up a bonus when his shot from a front bunker on the par-4 eighth rattled and rolled into the cup. Doug Ferguson, chicagotribune.com, "Dustin Johnson shares lead with three others in a U.S. Open that plays like one," 14 June 2018 Barty, meanwhile, was rattled and the 22-year-old never regained her form of the first set. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Serena Williams pulls off huge comeback at French Open," 31 May 2018 This is a big departure from the November 13 and Nice attacks that left us all rattled and heartbroken. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "After Knife Attack, What You Need to Know About Visiting Paris," 14 May 2018 Coiled, rattling, and head raised? Give it even more room. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "How to Survive Encounters with Dangerous Animals," 7 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In fact, there's that sort of rattle and a clang to our entire cul-de-sac, and that's mostly on us. Chris Erskine, latimes.com, "Our house is a Renaissance smile — sly, fetching and a little troubled. Come on in!," 25 May 2018 Among them: tortoises, bearded dragons, lizards, geckos, a cobra, rattle snakes, a crocodile, an alligator, scores of venomous snakes, and even a python, known as the world's longest of snakes. Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Predators Reptile Expo in Mesa April 14-15: See the world's longest snake," 12 Apr. 2018 From inside her house, M heard a rattle of gunfire and a chorus of screams. Washington Post, "Silent pain: Rohingya rape survivors’ babies quietly emerge," 5 July 2018 Critics have warned his rise could push Colombia dangerously toward the left and rattle markets in the traditionally conservative country. Christine Armario And Joshua Goodman, chicagotribune.com, "Colombia set for combative presidential runoff with divisions over peace," 28 May 2018 Perhaps the most extravagant present was an 18-karat white-gold rattle from the Natural Sapphire Company, featuring diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Princess Charlotte Receives Incredible First Birthday Gifts From Around the World," 3 May 2016 As the game played on, dozens of vendors carrying large Mexican flags, rattles, horns and other celebratory instruments stood by, hopeful victory would boost their sales. Sandra Dibble, sandiegouniontribune.com, "¡Viva Korea! Losing to Sweden, Mexican soccer fans cheer Korean team," 27 June 2018 Overall, mechanical problems — whether faulty transmissions, or squeaks, rattles and wind noise — have largely vanished, according to Power, with electronic gremlins the top source of consumer complaints. NBC News, "South Korean cars rank highest for quality in new survey — but Detroit isn't far behind," 20 June 2018 My nose ran without pause, my throat felt like a sandpaper rattle and my eyes were blurry from tears. Cain Burdeau, Fox News, "An ancient way to cut grass, scything's also a state of mind," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Japan will also be watching with ambivalence – happy to see the saber-rattling ending but worried its security might be sacrificed in Trump's rush to neutralize the North Korean threat to the United States. Robert Birsel, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, Kim launch historic Singapore summit with a handshake," 12 June 2018 If any of this had rattled her, Mrs. Trump didn't let on. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Melania Trump Announces Her New "Be Best" Campaign for Children," 7 May 2018 Classes begin with #RachetAffirmations — equal parts real talk and pep talk — before segueing into Trap Yoga, complete with hi-hats, rattling snares and bass kicks (no word if there will be any drill bells ringing). Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do this weekend in Chicago," 19 Apr. 2018 Taddicken says one of the characteristics that draws tourists to the ancient birds is their loud, rattling call. National Geographic, "This Is What One of the Last Great Migrations Looks Like," 17 Apr. 2018 The eruption comes after days of earthquakes rattled the area's Puna district. CBS News, "Hawaii volcano erupts, spews lava high in air, into subdivision," 4 May 2018 So addicting is this game that a three-day hiatius from the usual 70-strong bustle of the weekday rotate-in-and-out game has seriously rattled Murphy. Amy S. Rosenberg, Philly.com, "Ocean City and the most cutthroat pickleball game at the Jersey Shore," 11 July 2018 President Trump’s reported threat to leave the World Trade Organization rattled markets before the US open, but his Treasury secretary later walked back the statements. Jeremy Herron, BostonGlobe.com, "Stocks cap quarter with gains, dollar slumps," 29 June 2018 Most of them responded to Diane rattling grain in a bowl. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Granite Mountain Hotshots: An untold story from the day 19 firefighters died," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rattle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rattle

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1519, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1729, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rattle

Verb (1)

Middle English ratelen; akin to Middle Dutch ratel rattle

Verb (2)

irregular from ratline

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Learn More about rattle

Dictionary Entries near rattle





rattle about

rattle around


Statistics for rattle

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rattle

The first known use of rattle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for rattle



English Language Learners 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


rat·tle | \ ˈra-tᵊl \
rattled; rattling

Kids Definition of rattle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make or cause to make a rapid series of short sharp sounds Wind rattled the windows.

2 : to move with a clatter A wagon rattled down the road.

3 : to speak or say quickly or without stopping He rattled off the answers.

4 : to disturb the calmness of : upset The question rattled the speaker.



Kids Definition of rattle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a series of short sharp sounds the rattle of dishes

2 : a toy that makes a rattling sound

3 : a part at the end of a rattlesnake's tail that makes a buzzing rattle when shaken


rat·tle | \ ˈrat-ᵊl \

Medical Definition of rattle 

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

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

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Comments on rattle

What made you want to look up rattle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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