Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A rickety, worn-out vehicle.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun colloq. Any machine or vehicle that does not run smoothly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From rattle +‎ trap.

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 II

  • 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)

  • 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)

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

    CHAPTER III

  • 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?

  • 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

Comments

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  • an onomatopoeic delight! best when uttered with scathing derision

    February 16, 2007

  • Nice one! In the same family as claptrap, I say.

    February 16, 2007