- 1Make or cause to make a rapid succession of short, sharp knocking sounds, typically as a result of shaking and striking repeatedly against a hard surface or object: [with object]: he rattled some change in his pocket [no object]: there was a sound of bottles rattling as he stacked the cratesMore example sentences
- To her distress, the person persisted, the door shaking and rattling with his knocks.
- Then, there was this scratching metallic sound and… the whole elevator shook and rattled.
- The plan was to build a wall that shook and rattled, simulating an earthquake, complete with sound effects.
- 1.1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] (Of a vehicle or its driver or passengers) move or travel somewhere while making a rattle: trains rattled past at frequent intervalsMore example sentences
- Soon, dozens of guests began pouring in, their carriages rattling past the front door and around to the back.
- The carriage rattled along the narrow, winding streets to Montemarte, where the Basilica of the Sacre Couer lay.
- Drags of empty coal cars rattle past on their westward run.
- 1.2 [no object] (rattle around in) Be in or occupy (an unnecessarily or undesirably spacious room or building).More example sentences
- Well, no need to rattle around in a double room or cabin while being penalised with a single person supplement.
- The maintenance backlog alone was more than 100 million and there were too few pupils rattling around in too many schools.
- She said that he had an entire subaquatic palace to rattle around in.
- 2 [with object] • informal Cause (someone) to feel nervous, worried, or irritated: she turned quickly, rattled by his presenceMore example sentences
- Jack's presence rattled Wilson, reminding him of Henry as a little boy showing Jack how to work the old cash register.
- The sight of Anna, not the slightest bit ruffled, rattled him severely.
- He looked at the capable assistant with sincere eyes knowing that this would rattle him into some flustered explanation of his whereabouts.
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- 1A rapid succession of short, sharp, hard sounds: the rattle of teacups on the trayMore example sentences
- In the distance there is the rapid rattle of a Kalashnikov.
- Somewhere around Parliament House, the rattle turned to a clunk.
- There's the rattle and clang of the air lock opening and closing, and it seems she has worn her lead-weighted diving boots home.
- 1.1A gurgling sound in the throat of a dying person.More example sentences
- He laughed and I noticed there was a wheezy rattle in his throat.
- People take a long time to die, accompanied by the cracking of bone, the resistance of gristle, dire last-gasp gurgles and rattles.
- Her body went rigid, and the moan became a rattle deep in her throat.
- 2A thing used to make a rapid succession of short, sharp sounds, in particular.More example sentences
- Traditional musical instruments included rattles, which were prominent in ceremonies.
- It includes ten leg rattles worn by dancers as both a composite musical instrument and a protective device.
- The second movement opens with timpani and rattles, followed by almost electronic sounding little looped musical figures that litter all of Glass's compositions.
- 2.1A baby’s toy consisting of a container filled with small pellets that makes a noise when shaken.More example sentences
- The usual teddies, rattles and baby outfits just weren't good enough for five-week-old Ikra Yaseen.
- These ideas are alluded to in this affable portrait by the angelic baby grasping a toy rattle while being tenderly held by its mother.
- Thousands of baby rattles will also be delivered to US senators.
- 2.2The set of horny rings at the end of a rattlesnake’s tail, shaken with a dry buzzing sound as a warning.More example sentences
- Rattlesnakes shake their tail rattles as aposematic warnings.
- The forked tongue darted from his lips, and the tip of his tail began the familiar sound of a rattle.
rattle someone's cage
- • informal Make someone feel angry or annoyed.More example sentences
- I should like to ask Tom Lubbock: who rattled your cage?
- As The Jackhammer rattled my cage with uppercuts and hooks to the temple, I defended myself, but only made a nominal effort to punch back.
- It appears to have rattled my cage significantly.
- Threaten to take aggressive action. See also saber-rattling.More example sentences
- Ministers are also not required to become emotionally involved, or to throw down ultimatums, or to rattle sabers and make dire threats.
- Why are India and Pakistan still rattling sabres and missiles at one another over Kashmir?
- But if it was so successful, why are we rattling sabers now?
rattle something off
- Say, perform, or produce something quickly and effortlessly: he rattled off some instructionsMore example sentences
reel off, recite, list, fire off, run through, enumerate
- She rattled it off quickly and Zenn put his gun away.
- Wellman's actors rattled their dialogue off like machine gun fire while Del Ruth's players took their time to enunciate clearly.
- This weekend, I started reading it again, and rattled it off in a couple of sessions, mainly on the train on the way to Cork and back.
- Talk rapidly and at length, especially in an inane or boring way.More example sentences
- While Pataki rattled on endlessly about his shampoo, Whitman became very vocal about missing The Weekly Standard.
- Mark and Scott had hit it off spectacularly, rattling on about soccer, airplanes, their favorite movies and t.v. shows, and the like.
- ‘I love your look today Lori,’ Tiffany by now was clenching her fists as Dale began rattling on.
Middle English (as a verb): related to Middle Dutch and Low German ratelen, of imitative origin.