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From Middle English rustelen, russelen, of uncertain origin, but probably from Old English hrūxlian, hristlan, hrystlan, hristlian (to make a noise). Compare also Scots reesle (to crackle; rattle; rustle), West Frisian risselje, Dutch ritselen (to rustle), German rascheln (to rustle).



rustle (plural rustles)

  1. A soft crackling sound similar to the movement of dry leaves.
  2. A movement producing such a sound.



rustle (third-person singular simple present rustles, present participle rustling, simple past and past participle rustled)

  1. (ergative) To move (something) with a soft crackling sound.
    • 1877, Anna Sewell, “Chapter 22”, in Black Beauty: [], London: Jarrold and Sons, [], →OCLC:
      The next day at three o'clock we were again at the door, and the footmen as before; we heard the silk dress rustle, and the lady came down the steps and in an imperious voice, she said, "York, you must put those horses' heads higher, they are not fit to be seen."
  2. (transitive) To make or obtain in a lively, energetic way.
    Synonym: rustle up
    • 1921, William M. McCoy, The Valley of the Sun, page 48:
      When at last the lumber was piled again in its rightful place, and the boxes of food had been returned to the shelter from which they had been stolen, the two friends rustled a meal, and then set off on horseback []
  3. (transitive) To steal (cattle or other livestock).


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