1. in senses of speech.
(a) the tongue, the voice; thus noise.
|F&H].Apology n.p.: All this ado about the golden age, is but an empty rattle and frivolous conceit [|
|Cheats V v: He has got a rattle as big as a drum.|
|Humours of a Coffee-House 2 July 9: Mr Harlem is not here with his Nonsensical Rattle to interrupt us.|
|Journal to Stella (1901) 513: I chid the servants, and made a rattle.letter lx 24 Feb. in|
|Diary (1891) 1 271: The careless rattle of Captain Bouchier, which paid no regard to the daintiness of Miss Weston, made her [...] laugh.|
|Bk of Sports 154: B— st you, if you don’t hold your rattle.|
|Vanity Fair III 128: The boy’s dashing manners, and off-hand rattle about books.|
|Sleep No More (1994) 92: ‘’Old tha rattle.’ he said, giving the last speaker a queer look.|
|Birthday 90: I’ll put my boot in your big mouth if you don’t shut your rattle.|
(b) a voluble talker.
|Bashful Man I iii: What a rattle you are, Frank!|
|Cythera’s Hymnal 48: When taken down to dinner by some brisk rattle, / Who of music, novels and plays will prattlke.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 6 June 6/4: There is just as much Jew in the one as there is jewellery about the other, but they are both agreeable [?]attles.|
|Bird o’ Freedom 8 Jan. 5/4: She is a rattle, but an undoubtably agreeable rattle, and she had kept her visitor amused, without a check of ennui or a call for a lead, during a fifteen minutes’ burst of small talk.|
(c) (UK Und.) chatter from a confidence trickster used to distract a victim.
|Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 24 Dec. 12/2: ‘Give him the “rattle” with your mouth all the time you’re working him’.|
(d) (Aus./S. Afr. Und.) a dispute, a quarrel.
|Crime in S. Afr. 75: They employed an argot which was peculiarly their own [...] ‘a rattle’ meant a fight.|
|Real Thing 50: Take Les over to the car [...] I’ll sort this rattle out.|
|Mystery Bay Blues 2: While all this rattle was going on Les had the money he had stolen washed quicker than a cup and saucer.|
(e) (US prison) petty grievances.
|False Starts 195: He was a total prick, who would beef you for an overdue library book, that was fair enough, we knew him by his rattles and behaved accordingly.|
(f) (Aus.) publicity.
|White Shoes 10: I’ve got Crystal promoting her new single [...] I’m doing the whole rattle on the Gold Coast.|
(g) (Aus.) some form of (energetic) activity.
|Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] All I have to do now is get the tiler back when this rattle with Nizegy’s all over.|
|Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] While allthis rattle was going on, another scene of organised confusion was being enacted next to the children’s play station.|
2. a dicebox.
|Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Rattle. a Dice Box.|
|,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
3. a coach.
|‘Flash Lang.’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 19: A coach, a rattle.|
|Attic Misc. 117: While in a rattle sit two blowens flash, / Salt tears fast streaming from each bungy eye.‘Education’ in|
|Jack Randall’s Diary 3: Tom Trot’s bran new Rattle, From Tothill Fields came trotting down.|
|‘Sonnets for the Fancy’ in Boxiana III 622: [as 1791].|
4. in pl. uses [abbr. SE death-rattle].
(a) the croup.
|DA].Diary 434: A Child [...] died of the Rattles or Throat Destemper [|
|DA].Letters 26 Nov. [ms] He was then taken very bad with the rattels [|
(b) nerves, anxiety, esp. as case of (the) rattles.
|Big Bear of Arkansas (1847) 121: They jist kept Chunkey from dyin’, as he was so dry he had the rattles.|
|World (N.Y.) 2 Sept. 6/6: The muff and the subsequent ‘case of rattles’ which the young player had, caused the loss for New York.|
|Chimmie Fadden 70: I nearly got de rattles once, and was going t’ make de grand sneak.|
|You Can Search Me 12: It isn’t a case of the rattles with me.|
5. money, cash; thus have a bit of rattle v., to be well-off.
|Biglow Papers (1880) 80: Ez long’z the people get their rattle, / Wut is there fer ’m to grout about?|
|(con. 1916) Her Privates We (1986) 103: I should say the old girl ’ad quite a bit o’ rattle to ’er.|
6. spirit, ebullience.
|‘’Arry in Parry’ in Punch 15 Nov. 217/2: I put on the rattle to rights in the style that’s so taking shay noo.|
|‘’Arry on Harry’’ in Punch 24 Aug. 93/2: But there’s one thing [...] you carn’t borrer, and that’s my rattle and go.|
7. an opportunity, a chance [play on sense 2].
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 584: They are the only propositions that give you a dead-square rattle.‘Big Shoulders’ in|
|Runyon à la Carte 72: I figure that with any kind of a square rattle I will have a better chance of nailing him than he has of nailing me.|
8. an act of sexual intercourse [note the double entendre in Burns c.1800: ‘But it’s in among the blankets that I like best, / To get a jolly rattle at the cuckoo’s nest’].
|[||‘The Court of Equity’ in Merry Muses of Caledonia (1965) 212: An’ gied her canister a rattle].|
|Red Sailor 12: I trunked her in the doorway [...] Not a bad rattle either, mate.|
|5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.|
|Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 110: He knows that I gave Jessica an old rattle.|
9. (UK drugs) withdrawal from narcotics addiction [the aches and pains that rattle the body].
|Observer 25 Apr. 11/2: Last time I came in [...] I had a straight rattle [cold turkey] and I got really depressed. [...] Coming off heroin is just too hard.|
a coach and horses.
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue .|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
1. a factory.
|Northern Star 7 Feb. 13/5: The man who rushes, maddened with toil, and addled with noise, from the ‘rattle-box’ to the gin palace.|
|Northern Star 10 Nov. 1/1: It was so in the manufacturing districts, when every ‘rattle-box’ became a charnel house, parishes were depopulated [etc.].|
2. (Irish) the male genitals.
|At Night All Cats Are Grey 69: What’s this? You’re minus your rattley box, my good man.|
3. see rattle-head n.
(Ulster) a noisy child.
a volatile, unsteady person.
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
(US) used as an emphatic queryl.
|Contrast V ii: What the rattle ails you? Is the old one in you?|