Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Origin: Probably from Middle Low German ratelen

rattle

1 verb
     
rat‧tle1
1 [intransitive and transitive] if you rattle something, or if it rattles, it shakes and makes a quick series of short sounds:
Dan banged on her door and rattled the handle.
The window rattled in the wind.
Bottles rattled as he stacked the beer crates.
see usage note shake1
2 [intransitive] if a vehicle rattles somewhere, it travels there while making a rattling sound
rattle along/past/over etc
The cart rattled along the stony road.
An old blue van rattled into view.
3 [transitive] informal to make someone lose confidence or become nervous:
His mocking smile rattled her more than his anger.
It was hard not to get rattled when the work piled up.
His confidence was rattled by the accident.
4

rattle somebody's cage

spoken informal to annoy someone - used humorously:
Who rattled your cage?

rattle around

phrasal verb
to live in a building that is much too big for you
rattle around in
Dad and I rattled around miserably in the house after Mum died.

rattle something ↔ off

phrasal verb
to say several pieces of information or a list quickly and easily from memory:
Chris rattled off some statistics about the teams.

rattle on

phrasal verb
to talk quickly for a long time about boring things [= go on]
rattle on about
Nancy would rattle on for hours about her grandchildren.

rattle through something

phrasal verb
to do something quickly because you want to finish it

rattle up something

phrasal verb
if a sports player rattles up a number of points, they get that number of points very quickly:
The West Indies had rattled up 411 for 5 when rain stopped play.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

shake, wobble, rattle, vibrate, tremble, shiver
Shake is a fairly general word. It can be used to talk about objects moving There was a loud bang and the building shook. It can also be used to talk about people's bodies moving because of cold, strong emotion, or illness Mary shook with rage. If something wobbles, it moves from side to side because it is not steady or balanced The desk wobbles when you put anything on it.If something hard rattles, it shakes and makes a quick series of short sounds The wind blew and the windows rattled.If something vibrates, it makes small quick regular movements that you can hear or feel The engine began to vibrate.If someone trembles, their body shakes with very small movements, especially because they are angry, afraid, or excited Trembling, she approached him.If someone shivers, their body shakes with small movements, especially because they are cold or frightened We sat shivering under a blanket.See also shake

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