Definition of winkle in English:

Share this entry

winkle

Pronunciation: /ˈwiNGk(ə)l/

noun

A small herbivorous shore-dwelling mollusk with a spiral shell. Also called periwinkle2.
  • Family Littorinidae, class Gastropoda: many genera and species, including the common and edible Littorina littorea.
Example sentences
  • 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.

verb

[with object] (winkle something out) chiefly British
Extract or obtain something with difficulty: I swore I wasn’t going to tell her, but she winkled it all out of me
More example sentences
  • 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.

Derivatives

winkler

Pronunciation: /ˈwiNGk(ə)lər/
noun
Example sentences
  • Members of the Chippenham Winkle Club known as winklers donned their Christmas outfits for the giveaway along the Kennet and Avon canal.

Origin

Late 16th century: shortening of periwinkle2.

Words that rhyme with winkle

besprinkle, crinkle, sprinkle, tinkle, twinkle, wrinkle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: win·kle

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.