Definitions

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

  • n. One that rattles: a rattler of pots and pans.
  • n. A rattlesnake.
  • n. Informal A freight train.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A rattlesnake.
  • n. A freight train or, (chiefly UK), a decrepit passenger train.
  • n. Something which rattles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, rattles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who rattles, or talks away without reflection or consideration; a giddy, noisy person.
  • n. Anything which causes a person to become rattled, as a smart or stunning blow.
  • n. A rattlesnake.
  • n. A big or bold lie.
  • n. Among cutlers, a special form of razor with a very thin blade, the faces of which are ground to an angle of fifteen degrees.
  • n. A tumbling-box used to test the cohesive strength of bricks. A number of bricks are placed with a quantity of cast-iron balls in the box and the box is revolved at a fixed speed. The amount of wear shown by the bricks is a test of their power to resist abrasion: essentially a ball-mill. See ball-grinder and tumbling-box.
  • n. Something that is very good of its kind, as a horse.
  • n. A hard, brittle coal, like jet, which generally lies on top of seams.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a railroad train consisting of freight cars
  • n. pit viper with horny segments at the end of the tail that rattle when shaken

Etymologies

rattle +‎ -er (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Died out in Melbourne. The trains were in fact a rusty colour so that's where the red came from. They were replaced by a generation of blue trains that, because the aircon always seemed to break down, were called blue boilers.

    August 9, 2011

  • Term apparently still in use in the Black Country, bilby, judging from the tweet by @seanoliver86.

    August 8, 2011

  • Urban trains were known as red rattlers when I was growing up in Melbourne. Term has died out.

    August 8, 2011

  • I love these definitions from the Cent. Dict.:

    "6. A tumbling-box used to test the cohesive strength of bricks. A number of bricks are placed with a quantity of cast-iron balls in the box and the box is revolved at a fixed speed. The amount of wear shown by the bricks is a test of their power to resist abrasion: essentially a ball-mill. See ball-grinder and tumbling-box.
    7. Something that is very good of its kind, as a horse."

    August 8, 2011