rattle

verb (1)
rat·​tle | \ ˈra-tᵊl How to pronounce rattle (audio) \
rattled; rattling\ ˈrat-​liŋ How to pronounce rattling (audio) , 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

rattle

noun

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

rattle

verb (2)
rattled; rattling\ ˈrat-​liŋ How to pronounce rattling (audio) , ˈra-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of rattle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to furnish with ratlines

Keep scrolling for more

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

Noun

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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The southernmost of California’s Channel Islands has been rattled by seven earthquakes in just more than 24 hours — the two biggest at magnitude 4.3. Bay Area News Group, The Mercury News, "California’s new earthquake cluster: 7 in barely one day," 6 June 2019 With the 30-second clock winding down, Team Green’s Louiscar launched a three-point attempt that rattled through the rim for a 45-42 lead. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Team Green repeats as Tamarac Men’s hoops champions," 5 June 2019 In 1969, this site spawned a massive earthquake that rattled the shore and sparked a tsunami. National Geographic, "A tectonic plate may have peeled apart—and that could shrink the Atlantic Ocean," 6 May 2019 Which hadn’t stopped Lucrécia from rattling him, making him wonder now where his own guilt lay. Benjamin Moser, Harper's magazine, "The Indirect World," 10 Apr. 2019 Erdogan favors unorthodox methods of financial management, and an overall win by him could further rattle the economy. Elena Becatoros And Zeynep Bilginsoy, Fox News, "Turkey heads to landmark presidential, parliamentary vote," 22 June 2018 Return the favor by rattling off any of these funny Father's Day puns, which any sense of humor—no matter how dry or sarcastic—can easily get behind. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "25 Genius Father's Day Puns That Absolutely Can't Be Beet," 3 May 2019 The eruption comes after days of earthquakes rattled the area’s Puna district. Jane Onyanga-omara, USA TODAY, "Hundreds flee as eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano sends lava into streets," 4 May 2018 Advertising So much for being rattled by the hitter friendly park. Pat Graham, The Seattle Times, "Denver native Freeland feels at home at top of Rox rotation," 26 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Embracing failure as a means to an end may help motivate the mini-Zuckerbergs hunched over their laptops in an incubator in Palo Alto, coding to the faint rattle of a foosball table down the hall. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "The Netflix baking competition “Nailed It” teaches us how to find joy in failure," 3 June 2019 Old men fished along its quays despite the rattle of German machine guns. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 As the needle edges to 60, 70, then 80 miles per hour, the 36-year-old automobile rattles and the wind whistles through the windows. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Car Company That's Resurrecting the DeLorean," 18 Jan. 2019 There are plenty of vegan baby products on the market now, such as Maisonette’s vegan crib mattress or Estella’s organic rattles. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "How Will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Outfit Their New Child? A Look Back at Royally Beloved Baby Accessories," 28 Jan. 2019 The source of my rattle was a locking pin on the front brake. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "Ampler Curt e-bike review: electric doesn’t have to mean big and ugly," 6 Sep. 2018 Those scenes are clangorous (the sound design is very impressive), with bone-shaking rattles and mechanical grinding and rocket- engine roaring. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘First Man’: Ryan Gosling is stellar as astronaut Neil Armstrong," 8 Oct. 2018 An upstate New York man trying to jump-start his car was greeted by an unusual sound coming from his engine — the rattle of a venomous timber rattlesnake. Fox News, "Man jumpstarting car finds rattlesnake under hood," 22 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The retreat of 10-year Treasury yields from multiyear highs hit last year have rattled financial markets and sparked fears of a coming recession. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Global Government Bonds Rally as ECB Signals Easing Soon," 18 June 2019 The antitrust developments have rattled Wall Street, shaving off tens of billions of dollars in market value from the four companies in a single day. Sara Ashley O'brien And Seth Fiegerman, CNN, "Top tech execs warn that breaking their companies up will make problems worse," 12 June 2019 The threat had rattled companies across North America, including automakers and agricultural firms, which have built supply chains across Mexico, the United States and Canada. Michael D. Shear, New York Times, "Trump Calls Off Plan to Impose Tariffs on Mexico," 7 June 2019 Since the swarm began, more than 1,800 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.5 have rattled the tiny island. National Geographic, "Strange waves rippled around Earth. Now we may know why.," 21 May 2019 Return the favor by rattling off any of these funny Father's Day puns, which any sense of humor—no matter how dry or sarcastic—can easily get behind. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "25 Genius Father's Day Puns That Absolutely Can't Be Beet," 3 May 2019 The publisher also rattled off news about free content updates to the games Mario Tennis Aces and Splatoon 2. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "New NES controllers headline announcement-filled Nintendo Switch presentation," 13 Sep. 2018 The stakes are high for both sides, as failure to reach an accord threatens to rattle financial markets and further strain relations between... Bob Davis, WSJ, "Tariffs Take Center Stage in U.S.-China Trade Talks," 3 Apr. 2019 Many women who don’t want children can rattle off a list of things people have accused them of being: selfish, immoral, cold, greedy, unable to experience real love—just to name a few. Therese Shechter, SELF, "Menopause Was the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me," 13 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of rattle

Verb (1)

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

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rattle

Dictionary Entries near rattle

ratter

ratti

rattish

rattle

rattle about

rattle around

rattlebag

Statistics for rattle

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rattle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rattle

rattle

noun

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

rattle

verb
rat·​tle | \ ˈra-tᵊl How to pronounce rattle (audio) \
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.

rattle

noun

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

rattle

noun
rat·​tle | \ ˈrat-ᵊl How to pronounce rattle (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rattle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rattle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rattle

Spanish Central: Translation of rattle

Nglish: Translation of rattle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rattle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rattle

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!