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



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 How to pronounce rattle (audio) , ˈra-​tᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of rattle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to furnish with ratlines

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 length of the suspension, then, won’t rattle the team when NFL Disciplinary Officer Sue L. Robinson hands it down, likely over the next week or so. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, 27 July 2022 Mass shootings seemingly rattle the public at an alarming rate. Fox News, 23 July 2022 Everyone in Mentone can rattle off the names of the powerful political families who warred for generations to control the local government. Susan Carroll, NBC News, 1 July 2022 There’s very little that can rattle Edney on the court, thanks to all those experiences. Bryce Millercolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 June 2022 The Thoughts rattle around in Usher’s brain in hilariously histrionic ways — the self-dramatizing manifestations of a self-doubting solitary worker in the creative economy. Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2022 Speaking of risk, in season three’s fourth episode, there’s a baby-proofing character who can rattle off household accidents stats in a way that would make Gael Garcia Bernal’s Old character very proud. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Jan. 2022 Fellow safeties Adrian Phillips and Kyle Dugger are like hybrid linebackers who will rattle bones and cages. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2021 So being fundamental can get those guys that are trying to be aggressive and rattle them a little bit. Richard Davenport, Arkansas Online, 2 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gender-reveal cakes have a pink or blue rattle hidden in the cake’s center hole. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 4 Aug. 2022 Carrying a rattle with his name written on it, each shake was intended to evoke the beating heart. Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2022 Most keys go down quickly and reset with a gentle plastic thud; larger ones come with a subtle rattle. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 7 July 2022 Morrison passed away in 2019, but her words echoed with a prescient rattle this week. Jane Greenway Carr, CNN, 22 May 2022 My papa found Rosalie like that, upside down, her little feet dangling out, as though she were not drowned at all but digging for worms or for a beloved rattle toy. Okwiri Oduor, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 Shock waves of Russian shelling rattle windows in Mykolaiv nearly every night. Brett Forrest, WSJ, 15 Apr. 2022 Electric cars are generally quiet; the absence of a combustion engine leaves only the gentle hum of the motor and the rattle of metal. Nargess Banks, Forbes, 17 June 2022 Unlubricated stock stabilizers can produce a rattle that’s caused by the dry metal wire hitting the plastic housings. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 13 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The inventor, for one, seems thoroughly soused (or at least terribly hung-over), picking himself off floor with bloodshot eyes as empty bottles rattle through his creaky workshop. Ben Croll, Variety, 15 June 2022 Layoffs rattle vulnerable industries So far, even as investors have fretted about what's next for America's economy, the job market has remained strong. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 15 June 2022 China has seen worsening growth and continues to rattle global supply chains with its zero-Covid policy shutdowns, and the deglobalization trend is hurting multinational companies in the S&P. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 The thin upper branches, cased with ice, rattle in the wind. Faith Bottum, WSJ, 23 Dec. 2021 There is a new 007, however: Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who has been given Bond’s old ID number and who has a similar skill set, including the ability to rattle off one-liners in the middle of a gunfight. New York Times, 29 Sep. 2021 Investors continue to shed higher-risk investments—cryptocurrencies very much included—as inflation and looming interest rate hikes in the U.S. rattle global markets. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 14 June 2022 Global stocks tumbled and the S&P 500 is on track to open in bear market territory as fears over inflation rattle investors around the world. Alexis Christoforous, ABC News, 13 June 2022 But Gazprom's move is still likely to rattle German industry, which is heavily reliant on Moscow's gas. Anna Cooban, CNN, 31 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for rattle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rattle

Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rattle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rattle. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for rattle


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.



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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on rattle

Nglish: Translation of rattle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rattle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rattle


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