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

  • n. A gurgling or rattling sound sometimes made in the throat of a dying person, caused by loss of the cough reflex and passage of the breath through accumulating mucus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The raspy or gurgling sound sometimes made by a person as he or she draws in or expels the final breaths in the moments before dying.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a rattling or gurgling in the throat of a dying person.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A rattling sound sometimes heard in the last labored breathing of a dying person.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Then he gasped with the death rattle and fell back in a faint; whereupon Fatimah cried out, saying,

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The turn of the millennium may have marked the death rattle of American warriorhood, an obsolete form of manhood that has undermined the very basis of patriarchy.

    Strangers at the Feast


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