Definition of winkle in English:


Line breaks: win¦kle
Pronunciation: /ˈwɪŋk(ə)l


  • 1A small herbivorous shore-dwelling mollusc with a spiral shell. Also called periwinkle2.
    • Family Littorinidae, class Gastropoda: many genera and species, including the common and edible Littorina littorea
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    • Shellfish such as oysters, mussels, cockles, winkles, whelks and crabs were collected for food from the estuaries and sea-shores.
    • The sand was dotted with saucer - sized jellyfish, rocks and pools are squidgy with jelly buttons encrusted with limpets, barnacles and winkles and are seedbeds for mussels.
    • Although there are many winkles on Breydon, I have never seen the oystercatcher take them.
  • 2 informal A child’s term for a penis.
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    • So you see, when I dozed off in my garden chair in the middle of a fascinating discussion with my son about which animals have winkles and which don't, I was in very good company.
    • One of my favourite snapshots of my son shows him running around, winkle to the wind, naked as the day he was born.


[with object] (winkle something out) chiefly British Back to top  
  • Extract or obtain something with difficulty: I swore I wasn’t going to tell her, but she winkled it all out of me
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    • He realises the paramount importance of getting all the facts into the public domain before the press winkle them out.
    • If necessary, they'll read between the lines to winkle it out.
    • Julio went quiet in the elevator and I finally winkled it out of him - he's wondering how long we've got provisions for.
    worm out, prise out, dig out, extract with difficulty, draw outforce out, dislodge, displace, remove, evict, uproot



More example sentences
  • Members of the Chippenham Winkle Club known as winklers donned their Christmas outfits for the giveaway along the Kennet and Avon canal.


late 16th century: shortening of periwinkle2.

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