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rattler

[rat-ler]
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noun
  1. a rattlesnake.
  2. a person or thing that rattles.
  3. Informal. a fast freight train.
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Origin of rattler

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at rattle1, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for rattler

Historical Examples

  • There was not a stick in sight, and not a stone bigger than a hazelnut; but there was the rattler.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • I guessed a rattler, or a bear, or—or something had got busy scaring you to death.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Jasper Swope had whirled back from the blow as a rattler throws his coils.

    Hidden Water

    Dane Coolidge

  • I bought the Brantlock Ranch from you the other day, Rattler.

  • I could feel that rattler on my arm all the way to Lake Tahoe.

    Vigorish

    Gordon Randall Garrett


British Dictionary definitions for rattler

rattler

noun
  1. something that rattles
  2. mainly US and Canadian an informal name for rattlesnake
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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

Word Origin and History for rattler

n.

mid-15c., "one who talks overmuch," agent noun from rattle (v.). From c.1300 as a surname. As short for rattlesnake, 1827.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper