Definition of trickle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtrɪk(ə)l/


[no object, with adverbial of direction]
1(Of a liquid) flow in a small stream: a solitary tear trickled down her cheek
More example sentences
  • Our bodies, faces, and hair drip with rain water trickling to the ground.
  • That night they found a small stream with fresh, clean, water trickling toward the ocean to their right.
  • Soon a sweet purple liquid was trickling out of the spout into the container she had placed underneath.
drip, dribble, drizzle, flow, run, spill;
ooze, leak, seep, exude, percolate
1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Cause (a liquid) to flow in a small stream: Philip trickled a line of sauce on his fish fingers
More example sentences
  • Without hesitation, he brought the canteen to Joe's lips and trickled some water into his son's mouth.
  • The inside ceiling was more planks of wood, the outer bark shingles helping to trickle the water off the edges.
  • Her cheeks were covered in tiny scrapes and a larger wound was already trickling a small stream of crimson blood down the middle of her forehead.
1.2Come or go slowly or gradually: the first members of the congregation began to trickle in
More example sentences
  • And I really went week after week, month after month, before the details of what was going on in that family slowly began to trickle out.
  • With all of the food eaten, and the time growing late, people began to slowly trickle out of the dining hall, until only a few people were left.
  • Two guards took their positions on either side of the door and opened it as the kingdom's residents began to trickle in slowly.


1A small flow of liquid: a trickle of blood
More example sentences
  • Several small trickles of blood flow down the side of his neck.
  • I collapsed behind a car cradling my head, feeling fresh trickles of blood flow down my face.
  • His arms were covered in small trickles of blood that flowed from the many burns on his body.
dribble, drip, thin stream, rivulet, runnel
1.1A small group or number of people or things moving slowly: the traffic had dwindled to a trickle
More example sentences
  • For years, all was quiet as the Western frontier was slowly settled by a trickle of pioneers.
  • Fresh new buying migrates in slowly, a trickle at first that may grow into a deluge many years later.
  • Radio space slowly trickles out as the Federal Communications Commission frees more of the spectrum for real-world uses.

Phrasal verbs

trickle down

(Of wealth) gradually benefit the poorest as a result of the increasing wealth of the richest.
Example sentences
  • No longer applicable, then, is the old theory of material benefits trickling down to the poor as the economy flies.
  • There is also some debate regarding the benefits of the reforms trickling down to the lowest strata of Indian society.
  • Anything which trickles down wealth from board room to the worker must be applauded, as indeed must any scheme which encourages prudent investing and enables people to save tax.


Middle English (as a verb): imitative.

Words that rhyme with trickle

chicle, fickle, mickle, nickel, pickle, prickle, sickle, strickle, tickle

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: trickle

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