Danny Bagley '16, Contributor

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“Dude, that Practice English AP Test just rattled me.” “Did you see Star Wars man? Totally rattled.” “Danny just rattled me by his essay on getting rattled.” These are just some common examples of the slang usage of the world “rattled.” This slang usage of rattled has swept BC High and apparently the nation. Rattled, of course, in the literal sense means to be shaken around. Yet can one be rattled with out being literally shaken around? Absolutely, and that is what the word has now come to mean. Being rattled, in fact, has come to be one of the worst things at BC High that can happen to someone.
A more correct way to say this form of rattled would be mentally rattled. Being rattled has to do with your mind being “shaken up.” It is sort of an assault on the mind. The most common thing people (specifically at BC High) are rattled by are tests, quizzes, strange homework assignments, etc. You can also be rattled by a person’s actions or a peculiar place. You can even be rattled by someone else getting rattled. While it is more likely to be rattled by something or someone, you can also preform the rattling.
But, what makes getting rattled different then being confused? Well, getting rattled is much more extreme. Like getting confused, getting rattled perplexes and troubles the mind. However getting rattled has an element of surprise to it. You can never anticipate a rattling. It is always unexpected, which makes it so much more worse than confusion. Also you can stop being confused fairly quickly if someone explains something to you, but after you are rattled it take a while to recover.
E.g. I can always anticipate I will be confused in Statistics, but I was rattled by that Physics test; I did not expect it to be that hard. I did not even know half the stuff that was on there, and I did the review guide!
This element of surprise connects to another lesser known version of the definition of rattled: to cause someone to feel nervous or worried. Being rattled scares someone. It upsets their entire existence. Everything they thought they knew has been shook up and thrown around. One who has been rattled, is terrified. This is why being rattled is the worst thing that could possibly happen to someone at BC High (dramatically speaking). When I ask a friend: “How was the test?”, the thing that I dread hearing most is “I was rattled”. If they just say they failed it would be better because then I know it might just be unique to them, but a rattling takes a toll on everyone no matter how hard one studied.
Rattled comes from the Dutch word ratelen. This meant “to go along loosely and noisily”. This of course connects to shaking/jingling. The noise part of the word rattle is quite interesting. The seemingly most obvious connection may be the baby rattle. Personally, I’ve always found it strange that babies enjoy a rattle so much, when it gives such a unsettling and annoying sound. The sound the word rattle brings can also connect to much more sinister things. One of these is a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake rattles its tail to warn predators and distract prey. Certainly anyone who heard a rattlesnake rattle, would be rattled (especially because all rattlesnakes are poisonous). Another is the death rattle. This is the sound people make before they die due to their last breath. Someone dying is more than likely rattled. The sound the word rattle brings adds so much to the connotation of the word, making it so dreadful.
The word rattled became very common between 1900-1940, reaching a high peak of 0.000208% usage in 1940. This was probably due to the world being at war. The world itself was being rattled. Rattle was most likely used in the literal sense due to new warfare specifically bombs (which have a tendency to rattle places). Soon after this it declined greatly. Then it made a miraculous recovery, beginning in 1970 and steadily rising. In 2008 it reached higher than it has ever been making it to a whopping 0.00021% in usage. This is definitely the beginning of the slang usage of rattled. Now rattled is being used more and more to describe being shaken up (mentally), a literal bomb on the human mind. It is clear how dangerous rattling can be, whether bombs or snakes, tests or quizzes, Montserrats or definition pieces, nothing good come from the word rattled.

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