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rat·tle  1 (rătl)
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v. rat·tled, rat·tling, rat·tles
v.intr.
1.
a. To make or emit a quick succession of short percussive sounds.
b. To move with such sounds: A train rattled along the track.
2. To talk rapidly and at length, usually without much thought: rattled on about this and that.
v.tr.
1. To cause to make a quick succession of short percussive sounds: rattled the dishes in the kitchen.
2. To utter or perform rapidly or effortlessly: rattled off a list of complaints.
3. Informal To fluster; unnerve: The accident rattled me.
n.
1. A rapid succession of short percussive sounds.
2. A device, such as a baby's toy, that produces short percussive sounds.
3. A rattling sound in the throat caused by obstructed breathing, especially near the time of death.
4. The series of horny structures at the end of a rattlesnake's tail.
5. Loud or rapid talk; chatter.

[Middle English ratelen; akin to Middle Dutch ratelen and Old English hrate, hratele, a kind of plant with rattling seed capsules, all probably ultimately of imitative origin.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
rat·tle 2 (rătl)
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tr.v. rat·tled, rat·tling, rat·tles
To secure ratlines to (shrouds).

[Back-formation from rattling, ratline, variant of RATLINE.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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