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Related to rattle: rattle off

rattle through (something)

To undertake to do or say something rather quickly, especially as a means of finishing as soon as possible. We've only got a few more things to do before we can close up for the night, so let's just rattle through them and get the heck out of here. My boss rattled through the list of regulations so quickly that I couldn't even catch half of what he said!
See also: rattle, through

all horns and rattles

Furious. Belligerent. An American cowboy expression referring to the horns of cattle and the rattles of snakes. Joe's been all horns and rattles since the lawsuit. Would you stop yelling and being all horns and rattles? I'm just trying to have a calm conversation with you!
See also: all, and, horn, rattle

rattle (one's) cage

To purposefully anger, upset, or unnerve someone, especially to affect their performance or undermine their credibility. He makes a point of taunting his opponent before each match in order to rattle their cage. The audience member asked a number of embarrassing questions about her past in an obvious attempt to rattle her cage.
See also: cage, rattle

rattle (something) off

To say or recite something very quickly, without much thought or consideration. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about; he's just rattling off a bunch of industry buzz words. The accountant rattled the numbers off to me, but I couldn't tell you what they all meant.
See also: off, rattle

rattle (one's) saber

To make aggressive, blustering, and typically empty threats. I'd like to think that his threats of nuclear extermination are just him rattling his saber, but I'm not too sure anymore. The boss just likes to rattle her saber every now and then to make herself feel powerful.
See also: rattle, saber

rattle around in something

1. Lit. to make a rattling noise inside something. What is rattling around in this package? There is something rattling around in my glove compartment.
2. Fig. to ride about in a vehicle with a rattle. I am perfectly happy to rattle around in my ten-year-old car. Todd rattles around in his grandfather's old car.
3. Fig. to live in a place that is much too big. We have been rattling around in this big old house for long enough. Let's move to a smaller place. I can't afford to rattle around in a three-story house any longer.
See also: around, rattle

rattle away

to chatter endlessly and aimlessly. The two old men sat there and rattled away at one another. Tom rattled away at Jane for a few minutes and then left the house.
See also: away, rattle

rattle on (about someone or something)

Fig. to talk endlessly about someone or something. Martin talked incessantly. He would rattle on about any topic whenever he could trap an unfortunate listener.
See also: on, rattle

rattle one's saber

 and rattle its saber
Fig. to make threatening statements or actions. The president is just rattling his saber. He would never attack such a small country!
See also: rattle, saber

rattle something off

 and reel something off
to recite something quickly and accurately. She can really reel song lyrics off. Listen to Mary rattle off those numbers.
See also: off, rattle

slightly rattled

1. Inf. upset; confused. Tom was slightly rattled by the policeman at the door. I'm slightly rattled. I'll get over it.
2. Inf. tipsy; intoxicated. He's only slightly rattled. He'll recover by morning. she can be really drunk and still seem only slightly rattled.
See also: rattle, slightly

rattle off

Also, reel off. Utter or perform rapidly or effortlessly, often at length. For example, The treasurer rattled off the list of all those who had not paid their dues, or She reeled off song after song. The verb rattle has been used for fast talking since the late 1300s and for other kinds of fast production since the late 1800s (George Bernard Shaw wrote of "men who rattle off their copy" in a letter of 1896). The verb reel off, which alludes to unwinding from a reel, has been used figuratively since about 1830.
See also: off, rattle

rattle someone's cage

If you rattle someone's cage, you do or say something that upsets or annoys them. One thing I've learnt as an editor is that you can't create a truly superb magazine without rattling someone's cage. I don't rattle their cages and they don't rattle mine.
See also: cage, rattle

rattle your dags

If you tell someone to rattle their dags, you mean that they should hurry. Come on, rattle your dags or we'll be late! Note: `Dags' are pieces of dried waste on the tail of a sheep that make a rattling noise if the sheep runs.
See also: rattle

rattle your dags

hurry up. Australian & New Zealand informal
Dags are the excreta-clotted lumps of wool at the rear end of a sheep, which, in heavily fouled animals, rattle as they run.
See also: rattle

rattle someone's cage

make someone feel angry or annoyed, usually deliberately. informal
A humorous comparison is implied between the person annoyed in this way and a dangerous animal taunted by spectators outside its cage.
See also: cage, rattle

rattle sabres

threaten to take aggressive action.
See also: rattle, sabre

ˌrattle somebody’s ˈcage

(informal) annoy somebody: Who’s rattled his cage? OPPOSITE: smooth (somebody’s) ruffled feathers
See also: cage, rattle

rattle off

To recite something rapidly and easily; reel something off: She rattled off the names of people who had recently applied for the job opening. He knows every state capital and can easily rattle them off if you ask him to.
See also: off, rattle

rattle on

To talk continuously about something, especially to others not as interested in the subject as the speaker is: They kept rattling on about how much fun they had at the party, but I didn't really care.
See also: on, rattle


1. mod. confused; bewildered. He tends to get a little rattled at minor things.
2. mod. tipsy; alcohol intoxicated. After an hour of drinking, Bill was more than a little rattled.
See also: rattle


n. a rattly (old) car; any rattly vehicle. I hear Ted’s rattle-trap in the driveway.

slightly rattled

1. mod. upset; confused. (see also rattled.) Tom was slightly rattled by the trouble at the door.
2. mod. tipsy; alcohol intoxicated. She can be stone blind and still seem only slightly rattled.
See also: rattle, slightly
References in periodicals archive ?
We all have individual releases from the Rattle/CBSO team dotting our shelves, but to have them all contained within a single 5-inch Rubik's Cube of delights, Simon Rattle the CBSO Years (PS64.
In return, we hope that the artists will promote what rattle and Thud is doing.
Uniquely designed to be deeply integrated within a company s existing work environment and processes by the Altair ProductDesign team, the SnRD offers a comprehensive methodology to streamline the entire squeak and rattle simulation workflow process from model creation to results visualization.
20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Altair announced that it has partnered with Ziegler-Instruments to enhance its Squeak and Rattle Director (SnRD), making it the most advanced and comprehensive solution on the market to predict and eradicate squeak and rattle phenomena in vehicles, aircraft and other products sensitive to Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH).
He is the son of Denis Rattle, a Royal Naval Commander, and his wife, Pauline.
This led John's wife and business partner, Robin, to write a story card which reads “Use this rattle to help rattles some rain into your life, some rain out of your life, to help rattle your worries away, or just to keep your papers from blowing astray.
I consider a rut-rattle to be much different than the early-season rattle.
And, Clay said, he thinks it will be difficult for the Arkansas State defense, or any other, to rattle Mariota.
SINGAPORE I'm on my knees in front of Simon Rattle, a position made somewhat less bizarre by the fact that the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic also is kneeling.
Today, most manufacturers offer a rattle-type plug with lots of rattles, and some offer what are now called "low-frequency knockers" which are the lipless crankbaits that have only a single rattle instead of several in their internal sound cavity.
Full Battle Rattle is an eye-opening DVD revealing how the modern American military trains its troops to fight new types of battles, against more difficult and challenging enemies.
THE RATTLE OF A SIMPLE TRAM: Teesside once rattled and roared to the sound of trams as they trundled their way through our streets.
The rut is obviously the best time to rattle-in a big bull, but I rattle during the early season, too," Ramos said.
Simon Rattle is, in many ways, the perfect conductor for this set of works; his vivacious good humor, combined with his deep love of Haydn's work, make him a natural exponent of these pieces.
The Colima rattle (above) is from western Mexico, the Atlantic Watershed piece (below) from Costa Rica, yet both rattles have slipped stripes that echo the growth lines on a gourd (ancient American artists used burnished slip and did not develop glazes).