rattle

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

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 , 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

About two dozen recent fissures in that area have created towering lava fountains and bone-rattling explosions throughout the eruption. Caleb Jones, Fox News, "Current lava flows are hottest, fastest of latest eruption," 1 June 2018 When Rashaad Penny recently landed in Buffalo for a pre-draft visit with the Bills, the former San Diego State running back climbed off the plane without a coat or long sleeves, despite the bone-rattling chill. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego State's Rashaad Penny is the potential steal of NFL Draft," 20 Apr. 2018 As dawn pinks the sky, the tom shakes himself awake and looses the first of a series of branch-rattling gobbles. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Sound advice: More gobbles on horizon during turkey season," 11 Apr. 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 The Florida State product, who took the lead with birdies on 2 and 3 and never relinquished it, rattled in a key 13-footer for bogey on the par-3 11th after he pull-hooked his approach long and left of the green, leaving himself an impossible pitch. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Brooks Koepka Wins U.S. Open for Second Consecutive Year," 17 June 2018 Gausman appeared visibly rattled in the fifth — both by the Red Sox on the bases and by plate umpire Tony Randazzo’s strike zone. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "6-2 loss to Red Sox extends Orioles' club-record-tying road losing streak to 13 games," 17 May 2018 China conducted live-fire naval drills in the Taiwan Strait, the first such sabre-rattling in the sensitive waters in three years. The Economist, "Politics this week," 19 Apr. 2018 Our chemical-free pest control includes everything from a nearby doghouse to aluminum pie-tins tied to stakes to rattle in the wind as a means to frighten away cottontail offenders. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Carrots are a colorful ingredient addition for any season," 30 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Wolfpack quickly rattled off a six-game win streak featuring decisive victories at Florida State and against Louisville, before falling to Notre Dame and Clemson. Safid Deen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Despite key departures, NC State is No. 47 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 11 July 2018 Since starting 1-2, the Gladiators have rattled off nine straight wins and climbed to No. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Upperclassmen power Glenelg girls lacrosse to Senior Day win over Mt. Hebron," 3 May 2018 Breaking with the president has its risks, but rattled financial markets and slower economic growth are also problematic in an election year. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Fearing Wrath of Trump, Republicans Back Down on Free Trade," 13 June 2018 Gausman appeared visibly rattled in the fifth — both by the Red Sox on the bases and by plate umpire Tony Randazzo’s strike zone. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "6-2 loss to Red Sox extends Orioles' club-record-tying road losing streak to 13 games," 17 May 2018 Their walkout was unprecedented in modern American history and rattled a decade of firm GOP dominance at the Arizona Capitol. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "After a session rocked by #RedForEd and #MeToo, Arizona Legislature adjourns," 4 May 2018 China conducted live-fire naval drills in the Taiwan Strait, the first such sabre-rattling in the sensitive waters in three years. The Economist, "Politics this week," 19 Apr. 2018 Our chemical-free pest control includes everything from a nearby doghouse to aluminum pie-tins tied to stakes to rattle in the wind as a means to frighten away cottontail offenders. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Carrots are a colorful ingredient addition for any season," 30 Mar. 2018 Cristobal was in a noisy restaurant and rattled off his itinerary, and told me about the team's post-practice workouts, and conditioning drills. Andrew Greif, OregonLive.com, "In a program first, Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu named first-team All-America," 26 Mar. 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.

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

8 Nov 2018

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 \
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 \

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

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

noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!