Definition of rustle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrʌs(ə)l/


1 [no object] Make a soft, muffled crackling sound like that caused by the movement of dry leaves or paper: she came closer, her skirt swaying and rustling
More example sentences
  • The busy castle sounds drifted away, and a soft wind rustled through the leaves of the apple trees, stirring up the heady scent of sage and mint.
  • One night, as I was sleeping, I heard voices like wind rustling in the leaves.
  • She could hear the soft breeze blow through the trees; leaves rustling and crackling together.
swish, whisper, sigh, whoosh;
Scottish & Irish  fissle
rare susurrate
1.1 [with adverbial of direction] Move with a rustling sound: a nurse rustled in
More example sentences
  • At last, however, she rustled in, smoothing down a stiff poplin dress, with a little frightened flush in a gracefully rounded cheek.
  • Now she rustled in with an emphatic announcement of stiff brocade, and enveloped the spectral Angela in an embrace of comfortable arms and bosom.
1.2 [with object] Cause (something) to make a rustling sound: Dolly rustled the paper irritably
More example sentences
  • The only sound was the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees.
  • Feel the sun on your face, hear the sounds around you - maybe water from a gentle stream or the sound of a breeze rustling the grass, or birds above.
  • There must have been the same animal warmth, the same sweet animal smell, the same sounds of animals breathing, chewing and rustling hay.
2 [with object] Round up and steal (cattle, horses, or sheep): a murdered rancher whose cattle were being rustled (as noun rustling) horse rustling is a growing problem
More example sentences
  • In 1875, Dan was one of a coterie of five thieves rustling cattle and horses in southeastern Wyoming.
  • Lever and his men raided Ralph and his tenants, rustling their cattle and stealing everything that wasn't nailed down.
  • Traditional B-Western themes such as cattle and horse rustling continued, but they were war-related.
steal, thieve, take, abduct, kidnap
3 [no object] North American informal Move or act quickly or energetically; hustle: rustle around the kitchen, see what there is
More example sentences
  • "Alright now," said Neal suddenly waking up and leaping out of bed "what we must do is eat, at once, Louanne rustle around the kitchen see what there is, Jack you and I go downstairs and call Allen, Al you see what you can do straightening out the house."
  • I began to rustle around the kitchen looking for all the stuff in the recipe.


A soft, muffled crackling sound like that made by the movement of dry leaves or paper: there was a rustle in the undergrowth behind her
More example sentences
  • It landed solidly, making a soft rustle as the metallic surface met paper.
  • A soft rustle of leaves dimly caught my attention.
  • Her ears picked up the sound of a soft rustle, and then beneath it, the quiet steady thudding of cushioned weight hitting the ground.

Phrasal verbs

rustle something up

informal Produce something quickly when it is needed: see if you can rustle up a cup of tea for Paula and me, please
More example sentences
  • I'm not saying that they can be rustled up in minutes, but they can be made in advance and either reheated or quickly finished off in the kitchen.
  • But the match went ahead - until rain stopped play - after substitutes were rustled up.
  • Asked how many fans could be rustled up for the semi-final, the manager responded: ‘We've seen a greater number of supporters coming through our gates in the past year.’
prepare hastily, produce, make, put together
informal fix
British informal knock up



Pronunciation: /ˈrʌslə/
sense 2 of the verb.
Example sentences
  • The true West was populated by a variety of emigrants, including fur trappers, prospectors, cavalrymen and assorted thieves and rustlers.
  • Others are convinced that he was killed by cattle rustlers.
  • Sheep rustlers have returned to the Moors and are threatening to drive farmers out of business by stealing stock worth tens of thousands of pounds.


Late Middle English (as a verb): imitative; compare with Flemish rijsselen and Dutch ritselen. The noun dates from the mid 18th century.

Words that rhyme with rustle

bustle, muscle, mussel, Russell, tussle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rus¦tle

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