death rattle


a sound produced by a person immediately preceding death, resulting from the passage of air through the mucus in the throat.

Nearby words

  1. death of a salesman,
  2. death of ivan ilyich, the,
  3. death on,
  4. death penalty,
  5. death rate,
  6. death ray,
  7. death row,
  8. death seat,
  9. death sentence,
  10. death spiral

Origin of death rattle

First recorded in 1820–30 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for death rattle

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

Medicine definitions for death rattle

death rattle


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.