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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. 2019

Related Words for rattler


Examples from the Web for rattler

Historical Examples of rattler

  • 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.


    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for rattler


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

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper