Definition of trill in English:

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Pronunciation: /tril/


1A quavering or vibratory sound, especially a rapid alternation of sung or played notes: they heard the muffled trill of the telephone the caged bird launched into a piercing trill
More example sentences
  • In his effort to successfully attain variation of material, as well as timbre imitation, he employs a wide variety of ornaments such as mordents, trills, broken chords and appoggiaturas.
  • In the second section the flute ignites sparks of tone through rapid tonguing, tremolos, staccatos and trills as the tape sounds ebb and flow, gradually evolving from one harmony to the next.
  • The disadvantages are the impossibility of playing some chords and the need to be neat-fingered when playing trills on two notes which share a string.
1.1The pronunciation of a consonant, especially r, with rapid vibration of the tongue against the hard or soft palate or the uvula.
Example sentences
  • Holding the reins of his cart pony, he gave a sharp trill of his tongue.
  • The tongue trills of the Irish singer Roger Whittaker continue to delight audiences the world over.
  • There is a small error in the article on the addition of a symbol for the labiodental flap to the International Phonetic Alphabet: the bilabial trill does not still await its day.


[no object]
1Produce a quavering or warbling sound: a skylark was trilling overhead [with direct speech]: “Coming sir,” they both trilled [with object]: trilling a love ballad, she led him to her chair
More example sentences
  • Jonathan began to trill quietly, chirping and twittering at intervals and growing steadily louder.
  • Birds of every kind chirped around her, trilling and squawking and before long, she opened her eyes to see pillars of light shine down on her: the sun through the tangled mess of branches in the pine above her.
  • The breeze was light and warm, and the small stream, which ran out of the forest, trilled and bubbled in soft music.
1.1 [with object] Pronounce (a consonant) by rapid vibration of the tongue against the hard or soft palate or the uvula.
Example sentences
  • Next came the four trilled vowels, and unlike the wingless race he resembled, the ava mastered them with little effort.
  • Apparently Thais don't trill their tongue skillfully enough to produce an intelligible ‘r’ sound.
  • Women greet each other by ululating, or making a high pitched sound by trilling the tongue.


Mid 17th century: from Italian trillo (noun), trillare (verb).

Words that rhyme with trill

bill, Brazil, brill, Camille, chill, cookchill, dill, distil (US distill), downhill, drill, Edgehill, Estoril, fill, freewill, frill, fulfil (US fulfill), Gill, goodwill, grill, grille, hill, ill, instil, kill, krill, mil, mill, nil, Phil, pill, quadrille, quill, rill, Seville, shill, shrill, sill, skill, spadille, spill, squill, still, stock-still, swill, thill, thrill, till, twill, until, uphill, will

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: trill

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