Other forms: rattled; rattles

To rattle is to make a very rapid, short series of knocking or tapping sounds. You might impatiently rattle the quarters in your pocket as you await your turn at the pinball machine.

Ice cubes rattle in your glass of lemonade, and beads rattle in a jar. Something else that rattles is a baby's rattle, a noisy toy that's filled with small balls or pellets. Figuratively, to rattle someone is to upset or irritate them, like the way a sudden thunderstorm might rattle your timid poodle. Experts trace this word back to the Middle Dutch ratelen, which they believe to be imitative since it sounds a bit like a rattle.

Definitions of rattle
  1. verb
    make short successive sounds
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    make a hoarse, rattling sound
    crackle, crepitate
    make a crackling sound
    type of:
    go, sound
    make a certain noise or sound
  2. verb
    shake and cause to make a rattling noise
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    type of:
    agitate, shake
    move or cause to move back and forth
  3. noun
    a rapid series of short loud sounds (as might be heard with a stethoscope in some types of respiratory disorders)
    “the death rattle
    synonyms: rale, rattling
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    crepitation rale
    the crackling sound heard on auscultation when patients with respiratory diseases inhale; associated with tuberculosis and pneumonia and congestive heart failure
    type of:
    sound of any kind (especially unintelligible or dissonant sound)
  4. noun
    a baby's toy that makes percussive noises when shaken
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    type of:
    plaything, toy
    an artifact designed to be played with
  5. noun
    loosely connected horny sections at the end of a rattlesnake's tail
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    type of:
    the posterior part of the body of a vertebrate especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body
  6. verb
    cause to lose one's composure
    synonyms: discomfit, discompose, disconcert, untune, upset
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    enervate, faze, unnerve, unsettle
    disturb the composure of
    cause to lose control emotionally
    bemuse, bewilder, discombobulate, throw
    cause to be confused emotionally
    abash, embarrass
    cause to be embarrassed; cause to feel self-conscious
    anguish, hurt, pain
    cause emotional anguish or make miserable
    cause great unhappiness for; distress
    cause to lose one's nerve
    confuse, disconcert, flurry, put off
    cause to feel embarrassment
    break someone's heart
    cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
    agonise, agonize
    cause to agonize
    aggrieve, grieve, harrow
    cause to feel distress
    oppress or trouble greatly
    strain, stress, try
    test the limits of
    give pain or trouble to
    excruciate, rack, torment, torture
    torment emotionally or mentally
    type of:
    arouse, elicit, enkindle, evoke, fire, kindle, pique, provoke, raise
    call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)




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