cockle

1 of 3

noun (1)

cock·​le ˈkä-kəl How to pronounce cockle (audio)
: any of several weedy plants of the pink family
especially : corn cockle

cockle

2 of 3

noun (2)

1
: any of various chiefly marine bivalve mollusks (family Cardiidae) having a shell with convex radially ribbed valves
especially : a common edible European bivalve (Cerastoderma edule synonym Cardium edule)
2

cockle

3 of 3

noun (3)

cockle verb

Examples of cockle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
But the bigger number warms the cockles of my heart all the same. Jon Porter, The Verge, 3 Jan. 2024 Meta implementing a new technology, especially one as thorny as generative AI, doesn’t exactly warm the cockles. WIRED, 5 Aug. 2023 Angel wings, whelks, slipper shells, arks, pen shells, cockles, jingles, coquinas, augers, and olive shells are among the most common found in local waters and on the beach. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 20 June 2023 That means Lone Star State residents have plenty of prime shell-hunting territory, particularly on Little Shell and Big Shell beaches, where cockles, quahogs, and coquinas can be found. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 20 June 2023 Lobster cockle comes with mezcal chili butter, carrots, fine herbs and brioche. Alyson Sheppard, Robb Report, 7 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cockle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English coccel

Noun (2)

Middle English cokle, cokkel, cokille "the mollusk Cerastoderma edule, its shell," borrowed from Anglo-French coquile, cokile "eggshell, shell of the cockle or scallop" (continental Old & Middle French coquille), going back to Vulgar Latin *cocīlia or *cocŭlia "shell of a mollusk, nut or egg," alteration of Latin conchȳlia, plural (taken in Vulgar Latin as feminine singular) of conchȳlium "mollusk, shellfish," borrowed from Greek konchýlion "seashell," double diminutive of kónchē "clam, mussel, conch"

Note: The etymon with a long front vowel (*co(n)cīlia) is evident in French coquille, Old Occitan cauquilha and a variety of Gallo-Romance dialect forms (see Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 2, pp. 1002-06), as well as a scattering of Romance forms elsewhere, as Neapolitan skontšiłə "the sea snail Hexaplex trunculus" (see scungilli), Corsican kuntšíłulu "kind of snail," regional Portuguese (Algarve) conquilho "mussel." The form with short u (*cocŭlia) is attested as cagouille "snail, escargot" in western dialects of French (Aunis, Saintonge, Poitou) and cocoille in central dialects (Touraine, Berry); it is also recorded in adjacent dialects of Occitan (Old Occitan cogolha "snail," Dordogne cagoulho). There are again scattered forms in Italo-Romance: kaguya, kuguya "snail" (Rovinj/Rovigno, Istrian Peninsula), concule "kind of mollusk" (Marche), koɳguyə (Abruzzi). Nearly all forms show loss of the nasal consonant and the failure of the front vowel variants to palatalize the velar consonant. Both of these changes have been ascribed to blending with another word, perhaps Latin coccum "the scale insect Kermes ilicis (thought to be a berry or excrescence on the plant)" or *cuscolium with the same sense. The result was a vowel sequence o - o, sometimes dissimilating to a - o. Another conjectural variant attested in eastern Occitan has an added stressed syllable: kakaláw "snail, empty nutshell" (Bas-Dauphiné, i.e., western Dauphiné), cacaláou "snail" (Provence), cagarol (Béziers)—see etymology and note at escargot. — Oxford Latin Dictionary has conchȳlium with long ȳ, which fits the Romance outcome, though length is not indicated for the Greek word in Liddell and Scott or the Cambridge Greek Lexicon.

Noun (3)

Middle English kokell, ultimately from Middle French coquillé wavy or rounded like a shell, from coquille

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cockle was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near cockle

Cite this Entry

“Cockle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cockle. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

cockle

1 of 2 noun
cock·​le ˈkäk-əl How to pronounce cockle (audio)
: any of several weeds of grain fields

cockle

2 of 2 noun
1
: an edible mollusk with a ribbed two-valved shell
2
Etymology

Noun

Old English coccel "weed"

Noun

Middle English cokille "cockle, cockleshell," from early French coquille "shell," from Latin conchylia "shells," derived from Greek konchylion, literally, "little shell"

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