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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English rakyl (chain), apparently related to Old Frisian rakels (chain), French racle ("the iron ring of a door") (from a Germanic source), and also Middle English rakente, from Old English racente (chain, fetter). More at rackan.

Alternative forms[edit]


rackle (plural rackles)

  1. (Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) A chain.

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin uncertain. Probably from rack (to drive; move; go forward rapidly), alteration of Middle English reken (to drive; move; tend), from Old Norse reka, vreka (to drive; drift; toss) +‎ -le (tending or prone to). Related to Icelandic reka, Swedish vräka, Danish vrage, English wrack.


rackle (comparative more rackle, superlative most rackle)

  1. Of a person: rash, impetuous, reckless
  2. Rough, crude
  3. Sturdy in old age