rustle

1 of 2

verb

rus·​tle ˈrə-səl How to pronounce rustle (audio)
rustled; rustling ˈrə-s(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rustle (audio)

intransitive verb

1
: to make or cause a rustle
2
a
: to act or move with energy or speed
b
: to forage food
3
: to steal cattle

transitive verb

1
: to cause to rustle
2
a
: to obtain by one's own exertions
often used with up
able to rustle up $5,000 bailJack McCallum
b
: forage
3
: to steal (livestock) especially from a farm or ranch

rustle

2 of 2

noun

: a quick succession or confusion of small sounds

Examples of rustle in a Sentence

Verb The trees rustled in the wind. Her skirt rustled as she walked. He rustled the papers on his desk. Noun He heard a rustle of leaves behind him.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The officers were chosen from Kenya’s General Service Unit and the Administration Police, two paramilitary units tasked with dealing with everything from riots and cattle rustling to protecting borders and the president. Abdi Latif Dahir, New York Times, 14 May 2024 For the bend of her arms, the rustling trail of her dress, the color of that silk—like a woman bleeding out. Sophie Yun Mancini, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Mar. 2024 The fact that the freshman with bouncy blond curls is the first male member of the Trojan Dance Force evaporates in a symphony of stomping feet and rustling pompoms. Thuc Nhi Nguyen, Los Angeles Times, 4 Mar. 2024 Brace yourself for some intoxicating shades of blue and the sounds of wind rustling through the surrounding mangrove forests. Meagan Drillinger, Travel + Leisure, 3 Mar. 2024 Featuring dangling pendants formed of emerald beads, white brilliant diamond drops and black diamond beads, these glittering gems rustle with the precious hush of luxury. Kyle Roderick, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Sargent loved color, satin, and silk, too, and favored crisp, rustling taffeta. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 11 Jan. 2024 For example, Vermont limited turbine sound levels to 45 decibels at night – somewhere between rustling leaves and a household dishwasher. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 There’s music in the form of a groaning score, as well as a smattering of noises—faint whispers, rustling leaves—that can be heard through the discordant notes. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 16 Dec. 2023
Noun
Dresses were marketed in part by their sound, known as scroop: the sensuous rustle of fabrics against one another as the wearer crossed the room. Nathan Heller, Vogue, 17 Apr. 2024 At first, the signs were subtle—a faint scratching in the walls, the occasional rustle in the attic. Sponsored Content, The Mercury News, 28 Feb. 2024 Heavy gold jewelry encircled her neck and wrists and dangled from her nose and earlobes, so that every movement created a tinkling rustle of metal against metal. Amanda Taub, New York Times, 8 Dec. 2023 Imagine waking up to the gentle rustle of leaves and the tranquil symphony of birdsong, knowing that this little slice of paradise is all yours. Sharon Naukam, Dallas News, 13 Aug. 2023 There was the thwap of the crossbow string, a hollow thud of the arrow hitting home, and then the fading rustle of the buck running off through the grass. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, 3 Aug. 2023 Had Caius kissed his mother’s hand like that, and did her dress rustle so for Caius?… Continue reading for just $1 an issue! Gary Saul Morson, The New York Review of Books, 1 June 2023 As with all buckwheat pillows, some reviewers note that the hulls can be a bit noisy, but others find the crunchy rustle to be comforting white noise. Good Housekeeping, 5 July 2023 The emerald-green canopy shifts and rustles as a troop of willowy, golden-gray monkeys slides through a tropical ecosystem more threatened than the Amazon. Diarlei Rodrigues and Diane Jeantet, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 June 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English rustelen

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1624, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rustle was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near rustle

Cite this Entry

“Rustle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rustle. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

rustle

1 of 2 verb
rus·​tle ˈrəs-əl How to pronounce rustle (audio)
rustled; rustling ˈrəs-(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce rustle (audio)
1
: to make or cause to make a rustle
2
: to act or move with energy
3
: to steal (as cattle) from the range
rustler noun

rustle

2 of 2 noun
: a quick series of small sounds
the rustle of leaves

More from Merriam-Webster on rustle

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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