rat·​tle·​trap ˈra-tᵊl-ˌtrap How to pronounce rattletrap (audio)
: something rattly or rickety
especially : an old car
rattletrap adjective

Examples of rattletrap in a Sentence

Are you still driving that old rattletrap?
Recent Examples on the Web My final critique reflects something that Cotter and his colleagues are well aware of: The Elf seems a bit of a rattletrap. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Dec. 2013 But the story doesn’t coalesce—to the extent that anything in the rattletrap narrative ever comes together—until the heroine gets a job at a fashionable department store. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 27 May 2021 Given the rattletrap American health care system — which is far, far worse than Italy's — even that would probably not be sufficient. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, 12 Mar. 2020 The raucously rattletrap musical selections add a fitting, pungent quality to this delirium. Duane Bygre, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Mar. 2020 From Pickwick Lake, the Mississippi DFW reports Alabama-rigs, single swimbaits, rattletraps, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits are all catching pre-spawn bass. Frank Sargeant, AL.com, 23 Mar. 2018 But the daily reality for San Bernardino’s finest is entirely different: a corps savaged by budget cuts, rattletrap equipment, crushing workloads and sunken morale. Michael Wines, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2016 Saugeye have been biting around the rocky points of the main lake, mostly on small silver crankbaits and rattletraps. Colorado Parks & Wildlife, The Denver Post, 14 May 2017 In the post-Soviet era, demand for the boxy rattletraps plunged ruinously in the face of foreign competition. Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, 17 Sep. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rattletrap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1822, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rattletrap was in 1822

Dictionary Entries Near rattletrap

Cite this Entry

“Rattletrap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rattletrap. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


rat·​tle·​trap -ˌtrap How to pronounce rattletrap (audio)
: something (as an old car) that is rickety and makes rattling noises

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