• WordNet 3.6
    • adj rattling quick and energetic "a brisk walk in the park","a lively gait","a merry chase","traveling at a rattling rate","a snappy pace","a spanking breeze"
    • adj rattling extraordinarily good or great; used especially as intensifiers "a fantastic trip to the Orient","the film was fantastic!","a howling success","a marvelous collection of rare books","had a rattling conversation about politics","a tremendous achievement"
    • adv rattling used as intensifiers; `real' is sometimes used informally for `really'; `rattling' is informal "she was very gifted","he played very well","a really enjoyable evening","I'm real sorry about it","a rattling good yarn"
    • n rattling a rapid series of short loud sounds (as might be heard with a stethoscope in some types of respiratory disorders) "the death rattle"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Dance Rattle Dance Rattle
A small watchman's rattle A small watchman's rattle
The rattles of the rattlesnake The rattles of the rattlesnake

Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n rattling The act of making a rattle, clatter, or continuous jarring noise.
    • n rattling The act of berating or railing at or otherwise assailing or attacking: as, to give one a rattling.
    • rattling Making or adapted for making a rattle; hence, smart; sharp; lively in action, movement, or manners: as, a rattling rider; rattling pace; a rattling game; a rattling girl.
    • rattling Bewilderingly large or conspicuous: as, rattling stakes or bets.
    • n rattling A corruption of ratline.
    • rattling Extremely; ‘stunning’: as, a rattling good speech.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Rattling a clattering: railing
    • n Rattling rat′ling Same as Ratline.
    • ***


  • John F. Boyes
    John F. Boyes
    “Violence in the voice is often only the death rattle of reason in the throat.”
  • Alexander Pope
    “Behold the child, by nature's kindly law, pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.”
  • Samuel Johnson
    “Our tastes greatly alter. The lad does not care for the child's rattle, and the old man does not care for the young man's whore.”
  • Fulghum Robert
    Fulghum Robert
    “To be human is to keep rattling the bars of the cage of existence hollering, What's it for?”


Sabre-rattling - When people, states, etc, threaten to use force as a way of getting what they want, especially when they are unlikely to use force, they are sabre-rattling.


In literature:

Once a window rattled ominously.
"A Son of the City" by Herman Gastrell Seely
The song-priest holding the rattle joined the choir in a chant.
"Eighth Annual Report" by Various
Their eyes were relit with the glittering beams, and the hissing and the rattling re-commenced.
"Traditions of the North American Indians, Vol. 2 (of 3)" by James Athearn Jones
The rattles spoke behind him.
"The Best Short Stories of 1917" by Various
From the German trenches came the sharp rattle of the rapid-fire guns and the noise of the rifles.
"Fighting in France" by Ross Kay
The rattling of the latter among the branches above decided her, and on she crawled upward.
"The Boy Hunters" by Captain Mayne Reid
Will you keep that rattle tongue of yours quiet?
"Cutlass and Cudgel" by George Manville Fenn
My meditations were rudely and suddenly interrupted by the sharp rattle of musketry, and a quick succession of reports in return.
"Hurricane Hurry" by W.H.G. Kingston
The wind, which had risen to half a gale, rattled at the window panes and roared down the chimney.
"Flint" by Maud Wilder Goodwin
It was followed by the rattle of small arms.
"Blue Lights" by R.M. Ballantyne

In poetry:

Mother! O, we bravely battled-
Battled till the day was done,
While the leaden hail storm rattled--
Man to man and gun to gun.
"Is That Mother" by Anonymous Americas
Dust in a cloud, blinding weather,
Drums that rattle and roar!
A mother and daughter stood together
Beside their cottage door.
"Apples And Water" by Robert Graves
So not Allenby nor Haig,
But her darling goes to battle.
All the world's red mist and vague
Shattered by the scream and rattle.
"Any Mother" by Katharine Tynan
Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
Were never folk so glad,
The stones did rattle underneath,
As if Cheapside were mad.
"The Diverting History Of John Gilpin, Showing How He Went Farther Than He Intended, And Came Safe Ho" by William Cowper
In the moonlight cracked the leaves,
As the fox across them passed,
And the ice-drops from the eaves
Rattled to the whirling blast;
"Leawood Hall" by Ernest Jones
As the lingering echo rattles,
Listens sure our Mother Norway,
That her sons can go the war-way,
Fight her freedom's future battles.
"Sung For Norway's Riflemen" by Bjornstjerne Bjornson

In news:

Tea party insurgents are rattling and energizing the GOP.
'Battle of the Rattle' - 5k race to up and Rattle Snake Mountain to raise money for the Nevada Diabietes Association.
President Barack Obama was just starting a round of golf when the East Coast earthquake rattled the ground around him.
6.5-magnitude quake rattles Guatemala's coast.
It was one those weirdly windy days when trees whip around like headbangers and buildings rattle in a way that reminds you that they are just buildings.
NOT long ago, I was on the subway in New York and a man started playing "Lady of Spain" on the accordion while his girlfriend rattled a tambourine and passed the cup.
A city already anxious about a recent spate of shootings was rattled further when a man walked into an arts cafe near a Seattle university and opened fire, fatally wounding four people.
Oct 6, 2012 (Weekend Edition Saturday) — The eclectic performer has tackled her share of genres, but she says she is most inspired by singing styles that rattle the listener physically.
Photograph by Dana Glover SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLES: Elvis (Travis Leland) provides some inspiration for Einstein (Mikey Schott, left) and Picasso (Tony DiCorti) in Northside Theatre's new show.
There is no denying the Chicago Bears are a rattled team.
The best part about Brandon Weeden's less-than-stellar preseason debut on Friday is he doesn't seem rattled by his mistakes.
My water pipe s rattle when I turn on the water pump.
Billy Joel rattles reporters with sarcastic responses to questions about singing the national anthem during Super Bowl XLI , which will be played Sunday at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.
Air strikes and artillery barrages rattled the breakaway republic of Croatia today in a surge in fighting in Yugoslavia 's civil war.
But now, 20-foot waves and rattling winds raged against the 50-year-old wooden vessel.

In science:

As the density of the fluid increases, the particles become caged by their neighbors and so they can only rattle around their local lattice site.
Landscapes, dynamic heterogeneity and kinetic facilitation in a simple off-lattice model
As the viscosity of a super-cooled liquid increases, the dynamics become intermittent [21, 22, 23]: there are long quiet periods where particles are rattling around their average positions, interrupted by rapid rearrangements toward new configurations.
Normal modes analysis of the microscopic dynamics in hard discs
In this situation, the glass can be considered “solid” in the sense that its molecules rattle within a “cage” formed by their neighbors and do not leave it, at least within experimental time scales.
Aging in a simple model of a structural glass
Common algorithms that incorporate these constraints into the Molecular Dynamics scheme are SHAKE [ 92], RATTLE [ 93], and LINCS [ 94].
Biological and synthetic membranes: What can be learned from a coarse-grained description?
Rattle: A velocity version of the shake algorithm for molecular dynamics calculations. J.
Biological and synthetic membranes: What can be learned from a coarse-grained description?