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[rat-ler] /ˈræt lər/
a rattlesnake.
a person or thing that rattles.
Informal. a fast freight train.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; see rattle1, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rattlers
  • Or about yanking the cords on window-rattlers, notched wooden spools pierced through the center with masonry nails.
  • Old trolleys were bone rattlers but new ones solve this problem by directing the shock down into the ground.
  • When cornered, rattlers feverishly shake their iconic tails as a last warning to back off.
  • rattlers and other snakes prey on ground squirrels largely through surprise attacks on pups.
  • Timber rattlers are often observed in groups during and after gestation and also when shedding their skins.
  • The rattlers are caught, milked for their venom, then skinned and fried in a giant cook-off.
  • In the summer some timber rattlers move into deciduous forests and croplands.
  • The two species of rattlers are intermediate in build.
  • Canebrake rattlers inhabit wooded and forested areas, preferring hardwoods.
  • After the breeding season is over, rattlers resume foraging for prey and return to over-wintering locations.
British Dictionary definitions for rattlers


something that rattles
(mainly US & Canadian) an informal name for rattlesnake
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
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Word Origin and History for rattlers



mid-15c., "one who talks overmuch," agent noun from rattle (v.). From c.1300 as a surname. As short for rattlesnake, 1827.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rattlers


  1. A railroad train: a very luxurious rattler (1903+)
  2. A fast freight train or a freight car (1913+ Hoboes)
  3. A rattlesnake (1827+)
Related Terms

cage rattler

[in the first sense, rattler, ''coach,'' is found by 1630]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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