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death rattle

a sound produced by a person immediately preceding death, resulting from the passage of air through the mucus in the throat.
Origin of death rattle
First recorded in 1820-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for death rattle
Historical Examples
  • She was shouting and laughing, and he seemed to have the death rattle.

  • Already the wise ones are hearing the death rattle and last gasp.

    David Lannarck, Midget George S. Harney
  • The death rattle sounded in his throat, and when I laid him back it was all over.

  • It is the end,” he said, “the death rattle; that is how people die.

  • The old servant uttered a groan that resembled a death rattle.

    The Buccaneer Chief

    Gustave Aimard
  • His sighs turned into groans, and the groans changed to a death rattle.

    The Long Arm Franz Habl
  • She told how she had heard the death rattle of the child during the night.

    The Jews of Barnow Karl Emil Franzos
  • Does not each tick of the second-hand mark the death rattle of thousands of men?

    Men in War Andreas Latzko
  • "You come too late, brother," the wounded man murmured, in a voice choking with the death rattle.

  • And the smirking gods of war, too, of course, if the two youths could but hear their death rattle voices!

    Dave Dawson on Guadalcanal Robert Sydney Bowen
British Dictionary definitions for death rattle

death rattle

a low-pitched gurgling sound sometimes made by a dying person, caused by air passing through an accumulation of mucus in the trachea
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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death rattle in Medicine

death rattle n.
A gurgling or rattling sound sometimes made in the throat of a dying person, caused by loss of the cough reflex and passage of the breath through accumulating mucus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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