- 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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for death rattle
That was all—a warning, a groan, the death-rattle in the shadows by the bed.Lorraine
Robert W. Chambers
She tried to stanch his wound, but the death-rattle was already in his throat.Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 7
In all, and some others, from want of a clean shirt to the death-rattle!
The verse moans and groans for him—it may have in it a death-rattle.
The sick man laughed a ghost of a laugh—it was half a death-rattle.The People Of The Mist
H. Rider Haggard
- 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
- 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.