rattle around in

rattle around (something or some place)

1. To make a series of continuous clinking noises (inside of something), like a rattle. A pebble or something must have gotten inside of the casing—I can hear it rattling around. The coins rattled around in her piggy bank as she carried it up the stairs.
2. To make a lot of various clinking or banging noises (in some place or thing). I could hear you rattling around downstairs at 3 AM. What on earth were you doing down there? Don't mind those sounds, it's just Tom rattling around in the attic.
3. To live or spend time in some large, empty or uninhabited place or thing. You can probably find Dr. Fleischer rattling around in his lab. It makes me sad to think of my mother rattling around in that big old house all on her own.
4. To exist persistently in one's mind. I've had this idea rattling around in my head for the last few days that I'm really excited to pursue. I may be nearly 90 years old, but I've still got a few sensible thoughts rattling around up there yet!
See also: around, rattle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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