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Of B and Rattling  
05:24pm 20/07/2010
 
 
Mister Nihil

Whilst searching for a word, of an afternoon, no doubt a rhyme or other workmanlike craft, I made a note in a notebook (the audacity!), questioning whether "Brattled" were, as it were, a real word. With a little work and a lot of snide thought, I found an answer and thought to share on this silent forum.
The answer is a "Yes," qualified only slightly.
The word Brattled comes to us through the same roots and stems as the word Rattled, through channels and routes from Middle German "rasseln," meaning to rustle, an imitative if ever one onomatopoea'd cross the landscape. In fact, one could argue easily that the word brattle is the same word as, or at least the nom de guerre of, rattle. Over the course of the approximately six hundred years since the two became separate entities, brattle assumed and held onto its letter B and rattle took on the connotation of discomfiture.
Brattle means "To Scamper Loudly," or "A Clattering Noise." It does not indicate a physical object that brattles. It does not refer to the act of causing an object to emit a brattle. In the long run, when you have a choice, chances are good that you could go your entire life without knowing the word brattle, and now that you do, you will doubtless mistake it for its more utilitarian cousin, but hey! fun is fun, and now you have an alias of rattle at, if not your fingertips, at least on your intarnetz.
mood: brattling
music: Pinchbeck and the Shams - Fake Love
Filed Under: grammar
 
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