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See also: rattle trap



From rattle +‎ trap.



rattletrap (not comparable)

  1. Mechanically unreliable or in disrepair.
    • 2006, Paul McGeough, Bush 'palace' shielded from Iraqi storm, theage.com.au, August 26, [1],
      All services for the biggest embassy in the world will operate independently from the rattletrap utilities of the Iraqi capital. (speaking of the new US Embassy in Baghdad)
    • 2000, Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country, p. 10,
      Every cultural instinct and previous experience tells you that when you travel this far you should find, at the very least, people on camels. There should be unrecognizable lettering on the signs, and swarthy men in robes drinking coffee from thimble-sized cups and puffing on hookahs, and rattletrap buses and potholes in the road and a real possibility of disease on everything you touch—but no, it's not like that at all.
    • Tennessee Williams, A Street Car Named Desire, Scene Four
      BLANCHE:What you are talking about is brutal desire--just--Desire!--the name of that rattle-trap streetcar that bangs through the Quarter, up one old narrow street and down another...


rattletrap (plural rattletraps)

  1. A mechanical device, particularly an automobile, that is worn out, run down, or mechanically unreliable as indicated by noises it makes in operation.
    Mom always worried about our safety in my friend's rattletrap. I told her not to worry, as it can't go fast enough to be dangerous.