[ ruhs-uhl ]
See synonyms for: rustlerustling on

verb (used without object),rus·tled, rus·tling.
  1. to make a succession of slight, soft sounds, as of parts rubbing gently one on another, as leaves, silks, or papers.

  2. to cause such sounds by moving or stirring something.

  1. to move, proceed, or work energetically: Rustle around and see what you can find.

verb (used with object),rus·tled, rus·tling.
  1. to move or stir so as to cause a rustling sound: The wind rustled the leaves.

  2. to move, bring, or get by energetic action: I'll go rustle some supper.

  1. to steal (livestock, especially cattle).

  1. the sound made by anything that rustles: the rustle of leaves.

Verb Phrases
  1. rustle up, Informal. to find, gather, or assemble by effort or search: to rustle up some wood for a fire.

Origin of rustle

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb rustlen; compare Frisian russelje, Dutch ridselen; imitative of the sound

Other words from rustle

  • rus·tling·ly, adverb
  • un·rus·tling, adjective

Words Nearby rustle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use rustle in a sentence

  • If I can rustle horses I'll send these two boys on home, with a note to the old man explaining how the play came up.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • But the fronds of a palm-tree in the wind produce a noise that is unlike the rustle of any other foliage in the world.

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • And before he had finished smiling, over the parquet floor behind him there came the light rustle of a dress.

    Bella Donna | Robert Hichens
  • The faint rustle of the Black Hood's cape caused the messenger on the ground to look up.

  • There was a rustle of expectancyupon the girls side, at leastat Assembly on Monday morning.

British Dictionary definitions for rustle (1 of 2)


/ (ˈrʌsəl) /

  1. to make or cause to make a low crisp whispering or rubbing sound, as of dry leaves or paper

  2. to move with such a sound

  1. such a sound or sounds

Origin of rustle

Old English hrūxlian; related to Gothic hrukjan to crow ², Old Norse hraukr raven, crow 1

Derived forms of rustle

  • rustling, adjective, noun
  • rustlingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for rustle (2 of 2)


/ (ˈrʌsəl) /

  1. mainly US and Canadian to steal (cattle, horses, etc)

  2. US and Canadian informal to move swiftly and energetically

Origin of rustle

C19: probably special use of rustle 1 (in the sense: to move with quiet sound)

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