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

Definition of rustle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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



Definition of rustle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick succession or confusion of small sounds

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Other Words from rustle


rustler \ ˈrə-​s(ə-​)lər How to pronounce rustler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for rustle

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Can people propose voting someone out on a show that’s about voting people out, without rustling her feathers? Stephen Fishbach,, "Survivor Recap: World War Z Breaks Out at Lairo," 16 Oct. 2019 Inside a copse of trees, a buffalo, the testiest and most unpredictable animal in the bush, rustled a branch. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "What I Learned in the Trenches of a Rhino Translocation," 9 Oct. 2019 His allies in Congress came to those decisions with him and then did the hard part of rustling up votes and crafting legislation that could pass. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The presidential debates wasted too much time talking about stuff only Congress can do," 1 Aug. 2019 As October winds rustled through the trees, area residents gathered for a pre-Halloween celebration of all things spooky at the Haunted Trail of Winnetka Saturday. Gina Grillo,, "Winnetka Park District gets into the early Halloween spirit with Haunted Trail," 21 Oct. 2019 Get out your stretchy pants and rustle up some Wet-Naps, because The National Fried Chicken Festival is making its triumphant return to the Big Easy this weekend. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Alert: New Orleans Is Hosting the National Fried Chicken Festival This Weekend," 18 Sep. 2019 An investigation in 2017 by Farmers Weekly, a trade publication, found that 0.75% of sheep-rustling incidents ended in a conviction. The Economist, "From fly-tipping to sheep rustling, Britain’s cops crack down on rural crime," 25 July 2019 As the ball rustled the net, the American fans erupted and Rapinoe stood in the corner, her arms spread wide, a huge smile on her face. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "World Cup: Megan Rapinoe does her talking with feet, scoring twice to lead USWNT to semis," 28 June 2019 This means rustling up ersatz ingredients at a moment’s notice. Anastasia Miari, 1843, "Magic grannies are stopping Cuba going hungry," 7 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Modernity, bright and loud, drowned the night noises: the hiccup of geckos, the complaint of insects and the rustle of palms heavy with coconuts. New York Times, "Clay Pots Everywhere Quenched Myanmar’s Thirst, Until They Vanished," 10 Oct. 2019 The rustle of wind rushing through the eucalyptus trees, a non-native grove that shades the campground. Christopher Reynolds,, "On Santa Cruz, California’s largest island, foxes play and a traffic jam is 6 kayaks," 9 June 2019 Her voice disappeared into the rustle of leaves and chatter of branches brought on by a strong, late summer wind., "She was prostituting, pregnant, doing drugs by 14. Now, Taylor girl fights to save her own life.," 1 Nov. 2019 On a Tuesday morning in March, Enjoli Gaffney walked into D.C. Superior Court accompanied by a federal marshal and the soft rustle of metal chains. Washington Post, "Hate crime reports have soared in D.C. Prosecutions have plummeted.," 21 Aug. 2019 The Musical, are filled with the rustle of tulle and chiffon. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Behind the Scenes of the Moulin Rouge! Musical With Its Star Costume Designer," 24 July 2019 Each noise becomes uncharacteristically augmented, including every finger snap, keyboard tap, or rustle of paper. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "We Tried Dolby's $600 Dimension Headphones. Are They Worth the Massive Price Tag?," 2 July 2019 This UNESCO Heritage Site falls into a peaceful quiet during the winter, broken only by the rustle of wind and the purrs of friendly neighborhood cats. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "For Authentic Ibiza, Visit in the Winter," 15 Feb. 2019 Unfortunately, morning on the river starts before sunrise, when the boatmen fire up the outboards and the hornbills start squawking and the rustle of leaves hints at the primates feeding in the canopy. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "Want Serious Bragging Rights? Do a Road Trip Across Borneo," 16 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rustle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rustle


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


1624, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rustle


Middle English rustelen

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Time Traveler for rustle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rustle

Last Updated

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Rustle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for rustle


How to pronounce rustle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rustle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make a soft, light sound because parts of something are touching or rubbing against each other
: to cause (something) to make a soft, light sound
: to steal (animals) from a farm or ranch



English Language Learners Definition of rustle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick series of soft, light sounds caused when things (such as leaves or pieces of paper) rub against each other


rus·​tle | \ ˈrə-səl How to pronounce rustle (audio) \
rustled; rustling

Kids Definition of rustle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make or cause to make a quick series of small sounds Leaves rustled in the wind.
2 : to steal (as cattle) from the range

Other Words from rustle

rustler \ ˈrə-​slər \ noun



Kids Definition of rustle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick series of small sounds From backstage you could hear the rustle of paper programs …— Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder

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More from Merriam-Webster on rustle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rustle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rustle

Spanish Central: Translation of rustle

Nglish: Translation of rustle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on rustle

What made you want to look up rustle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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