rattle

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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!
See also: all, and, horn, rattle

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.
See also: cage, rattle

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.
See also: dag, rattle

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.
See also: rattle, saber

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

rattle away

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.
See also: away, rattle

rattle 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 on

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.
See also: on, rattle

rattle sabers

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.
See also: rattle, saber

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

rattle-bones

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.

rattlebrain

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.

rattled

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

rattle-trap

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.
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

AUSTRALIAN, 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.
See also: dag, 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: dag, 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

v.
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

v.
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

rattlebrain

n. a stupid person. Please try not to be such a rattlebrain! Pay attention to what you are doing.

rattled

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

rattle-trap

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 ?
It seems likely, therefore, that the effigy of this important mythological personage might provide the user of the rattle with a channel of communication with the spirit world, in the same way as the figures surmounting rattles carved with bird effigies carry the midew's songs when talking to the spirits.
innerSpirit Rattles carry the spirit of survival with them all over the United States.
The first simulations of these three areas predicted rattles with good correlation to physical tests, although the simulations detected many more rattling issues than heard in the real-world tests.
Rattle elements could also be incorporated into items that were not intrinsically musical instruments, but nonetheless integrated sound into their spiritual message.
The driver then moves around the vehicle to listen to and pin-point the rattle or vibration.
Easier and lighter to pack, rattle bags also require less movement to operate than traditional antlers But they have limitations.
It has carried out tests and says the rattles fully comply with international standards.
Last night the firm said it was still "a mystery" how the rattle got stuck.
Bill Lewis Rat-L-Tap--favorite for 50 years with loud rattles of high-end frequencies
A list would include hand and water drums, drumsticks, rattles, otter skin bags, song boards, and engraved birchbark scrolls.
In high-pressured areas, bass become attuned to the rattles of the typical lures thrown by the masses.
Poundworld Retail Ltd was prosecuted at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court for selling pushchair rattles that potentially posed a danger to children.
In other words, you have to put some mechanical free play into it, but you can't put too much because then it rattles."
Grace said: "I have my 'rattling gear' (poles tied with rattles and plastic bags) to scare off the birds." Now worried farmers are to lobby the Scottish Office in protest over Grace losing her job.
Rattles now embellish nearly all of his catfish rigs, whether coupled with a buzzer for surface fishing, or butted up to a foam float behind a 1/4- to 1 1/2-ounce slinky-style weight for bottom presentations.