rattle

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Verb from Middle English, either from Old English (not attested) or Middle Dutch ratelen, ultimately imitative. The noun (c. 1500) is from the verb.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

rattle (plural rattles)

a baby with a rattle (2)
  1. (onomatopoeia) a sound made by loose objects shaking or vibrating against one another.
    I wish they would fix the rattle under my dashboard.
    • Prior
      The rattle of a drum.
  2. A baby's toy designed to make sound when shaken, usually containing loose grains or pellets in a hollow container.
    • Alexander Pope
      Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.
  3. A musical instrument that makes a rattling sound.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      The rattles of Isis and the cymbals of Brasilea nearly enough resemble each other.
  4. (dated) Noisy, rapid talk.
    • Hakewill
      All this ado about the golden age is but an empty rattle and frivolous conceit.
  5. (dated) A noisy, senseless talker; a jabberer.
    • Macaulay
      It may seem strange that a man who wrote with so much perspicuity, vivacity, and grace, should have been, whenever he took a part in conversation, an empty, noisy, blundering rattle.
  6. A scolding; a sharp rebuke.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Heylin to this entry?)
  7. (zoology) Any organ of an animal having a structure adapted to produce a rattling sound.
    The rattle of the rattlesnake is composed of the hardened terminal scales, loosened in succession, but not cast off, and modified in form so as to make a series of loose, hollow joints.
  8. The noise in the throat produced by the air in passing through mucus which the lungs are unable to expel; death rattle.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

rattle (third-person singular simple present rattles, present participle rattling, simple past and past participle rattled)

  1. (transitive, ergative) To create a rattling sound by shaking or striking.
    to rattle a chain
    Rattle the can of cat treats if you need to find Fluffy.
    • 2011 February 5, Michael Kevin Darling, “Tottenham 2 - 1 Bolton”, BBC:
      It was a deflating end to the drama for the hosts and they appeared ruffled, with Bolton going close to a leveller when Johan Elmander rattled the bar with a header from Matt Taylor's cross.
  2. (transitive, informal) To scare, startle, unsettle, or unnerve.
    The accident really rattled him.
    • 2014, Richard Rae, "Manchester United humbled by MK Dons after Will Grigg hits double", The Guardian, 26 August 2014:
      That United were rattled, mentally as well as at times physically – legitimately so – was beyond question. Nick Powell clipped a crisp drive a foot over the bar, but otherwise Milton Keynes had the best of the remainder of the first half.
  3. (intransitive) To make a rattling noise; to make noise by or from shaking.
    I wish the dashboard in my car would quit rattling.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To assail, annoy, or stun with a ratting noise.
    • Shakespeare
      Sound but another [drum], and another shall / As loud as thine rattle the welkin's ear.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To scold; to rail at.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of L'Estrange to this entry?)
  6. To drive or ride briskly, so as to make a clattering.
    We rattled along for a couple of miles.
  7. To make a clatter with a voice; to talk rapidly and idly; with on or away.
    She rattled on for an hour.

Translations[edit]

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Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]