1. A return to infantile pleasures, getting attention. 2. “Things” are coming apart—often emotional, sometimes in life experi­ences (a rattling sound of a vehicle or machine). 3. The end or “demise” of a project or situation (as in “death rattle”). 4. Feel­ings of having had a close call, avoided danger—often emo­tional, frequently a bad situation (to see or hear a rattlesnake).