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]

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

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.
  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]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]