rattle(redirected from rattles)
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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!
rattle (one's) cage
To purposefully anger, upset, or unnerve one, especially to affect their performance or undermine their credibility. He makes a point of taunting his opponents 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.
rattle (one's) dags
To hurry up; to get moving or working; to do something with increased energy, intensity, or effort. Primarily heard in Canada. Come on, rattle your dags—we need to get this project finished! I'm calling on all my fellow citizens to rattle their dags and show the government that we want this legislation overturned.
rattle (one's) saber
To make aggressive, blustering, typically empty threats. I'd like to think that his threats 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.
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!
To speak tediously and at great length (about something). He just kept rattling away about literary metaphors and imagery. I didn't know what he was talking about! I caught myself starting to fall asleep while the professor rattled away.
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.
To speak tediously and at great length (about something). He just kept rattling on about literary metaphors and imagery. I didn't know what he was talking about! I caught myself starting to fall asleep while the professor rattled on.
To make aggressive, blustering, and typically empty threats. I'd like to think that the country's threats of nuclear extermination are just them rattling sabers, but I'm not too sure anymore. The boss just likes to rattle sabers every now and then to make herself feel powerful.
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!
slang A person or animal that is extremely skinny, especially so that their bones are visible through their skin. They gave me this worthless old rattle-bones of a horse to ride. I didn't think it would even make it all the way to Las Cruces. I can't believe you let a skinny little rattle-bones like him beat you in a fight.
A stupid or foolish person, especially one whose thoughts are disjointed or chaotically disorganized. Sometimes hyphenated. These were not the unpredictable acts of some rattlebrain—they were coldly calculated. I don't know how they could let a rattle-brain like her lead this company.
1. Shocked, bewildered, flustered, or unnerved. The whole incident left me feeling pretty rattled. I know that Tom was rattled for a while after the accident.
2. slang Intoxicated from alcohol. She looked a little rattled when she was leaving, but she wasn't falling over herself or anything. I'll come out with you for a pint or two, but I don't want to get too rattled.
See also: rattle
slang A rickety, broken-down, clunky old motor vehicle. I can't believe he's still driving the same old rattle-trap that he had way back in high school. I've sunk more money in this rattle-trap than the damn thing is even worth.
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.
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.
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.
rattle one's saberand 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!
rattle something offand reel something off
to recite something quickly and accurately. She can really reel song lyrics off. Listen to Mary rattle off those numbers.
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.
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.
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.
rattle your dagsAUSTRALIAN, VERY INFORMAL
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.
rattle your dagshurry 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.
rattle someone's cagemake 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.
rattle sabresthreaten to take aggressive action.
ˌrattle somebody’s ˈcage(informal) annoy somebody: Who’s rattled his cage? OPPOSITE: smooth (somebody’s) ruffled feathers
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.
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.
n. a stupid person. Please try not to be such a rattlebrain! Pay attention to what you are doing.
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.
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.