Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A rickety, worn-out vehicle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Mechanically unreliable or in disrepair.
  • n. A mechanical device, particularly an automobile, that is worn out, run down, or mechanically unreliable as indicated by noises it makes in operation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any machine or vehicle that does not run smoothly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A shaky, rattling object; especially, a rattling, rickety vehicle; in the plural, objects clattering or rattling against each other.

Etymologies

From rattle +‎ trap. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It must reward them, or their children would not be able to go to school, nor would so many of them be able to drive by in rattletrap, second-hand buggies or in stout light wagons.

    Chapter 2

  • I just wonder what kind of rattletrap duct-taped mayhem is disguised under a smooth oxymoron like "collective intelligence."

    Eyebeam reBlog

  • I packed up my belongings and steered onto I-5 in my rattletrap '91 Honda Accord to return to L.A. to celebrate.

    Rex Pickett: The 'Sideways' Publishing Saga -- The St. Martin's Press Nightmare (Part I)

  • Theroux is firsthand witness to it all, traveling as the locals doby stifling train, rattletrap bus, illicit taxi, and mud-caked footencountering adventures only he could have: from the literary (sparring with the incisive Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk) to the dissolute (surviving a week-long bender on the Trans-Siberian Railroad).

    Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux: Book summary

  • You think Spielberg would only have a rattletrap third-rate spaceship like the Millennium Falcon to ensure his survival?

    Does George Lucas think the world will end in 2012?

  • There was an old rattletrap ruin where the bungalow now stands.

    CHAPTER III

  • After a few minutes Kassim came downstairs, walked across the sandy driveway, and drove off in his rattletrap Toyota van.

    Crazy Like Us

  • Rollie grinned from inside a rattletrap Chevy pickup.

    No Mercy

  • Nathan burst onto the world of Middle East diplomacy in 1966 with a dramatic solo flight to Egypt in a rattletrap single-engine plane, more than a decade before Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty.

    Peace activist Abie Nathan dead at 81

  • I stood back and offered an appreciative glance but, between you and me, the car was real rattletrap.

    Escapade

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