trick·​le | \ ˈtri-kəl How to pronounce trickle (audio) \
trickled; trickling\ ˈtri-​k(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce trickling (audio) \

Definition of trickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to issue or fall in drops
b : to flow in a thin gentle stream
2a : to move or go one by one or little by little customers began to trickle in
b : to dissipate slowly his enthusiasm trickled away



Definition of trickle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a thin, slow, or intermittent stream or movement

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Synonyms for trickle

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of trickle in a Sentence

Verb Tears trickled down her cheeks. Water was trickling out of the gutter. People trickled into the theater. Donations have been trickling in. Noun We heard the trickle of water from the roof. The flow of water slowed to a trickle. Sales have slowed to a trickle in recent weeks. A slow trickle of customers came into the store throughout the day.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Practice hasn’t started, and the muggy gym is mostly quiet as players trickle in., "the third-ranked boys’ high school basketball player in the country," 13 Sep. 2019 Bakula predicts the average age will moderate somewhat by the year’s end, as Christmas albums trickle onto the Billboard 200 and legacy artists come out of the woodwork. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Why Are Today's Top-Charting Music Stars So Young?," 12 Sep. 2019 Then, as more and more data from long-term monitoring programs set up in the 1980s and ‘90s trickled in, the perception of the ever-stalwart platypus began to dim. Christie Wilcox, National Geographic, "The silent decline of the platypus, Australia’s beloved oddity," 29 Aug. 2019 The idea of a men's shirt as an all-purpose item has even trickled into Ratajkowski’s fashion range Inamorata. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski’s Latest Summer Essential is Already in Your Closet," 30 July 2019 While companies are encouraged to promote parental leave, and many have expressed their support for taking time off to raise families, critics say the directives aren’t trickling down to employees on the ground. Washington Post, "Asics employee’s lawsuit highlights paternity leave in Japan," 10 Sep. 2019 The aid that has trickled into Freeport -- the island's largest town -- has improved conditions, but only a little. Patrick Oppmann, Jaide Timm-garcia And Jose Armijo, CNN, "'Grand Bahama is dead': A firsthand look at Dorian's destruction," 9 Sep. 2019 Along the brook that trickled toward the meadow, our group shined our flashlights, looking for the glimmer of bullfrog eyes. Vanessa Hua,, "Tastes like trout?," 4 Sep. 2019 Manufacturers are paying nearly $350 million more a year because of the tariffs, the trade group says — costs that trickle down to your cooler. NBC News, "From kiddie pools to Popsicle sticks, the next round of tariffs is a Labor Day downer," 30 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The migratory butterflies start moving through Cleveland around Labor Day and continue to fly through the area through mid-October, in a near constant trickle. Mary Kilpatrick,, "Thousands of monarch butterflies arrive in Cleveland," 13 Sep. 2019 Repudiation gushed from Democrats, but came in a trickle from his own party. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Texas Republicans squirm as Trump tells nonwhites in Congress 'go back' home; Cornyn calls it 'unforced error'," 16 July 2019 Not only are early Prime Day deals starting to turn from a trickle to a steady stream, but some July 4 sales are still going strong. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "The best deals and sales you can shop this week," 8 July 2019 Priscilla Lu, managing director of Sustainable Investment Alternatives at DWS asset management, talked about how corporations’ eagerness to present themselves as environmentally-progressive is having a trickle-down effect. Fortune, "4 Business Leaders on Addressing the Climate Crisis: The Broadsheet," 6 Sep. 2019 That has had its trickle-down effect, of course, on the bullpen. Julian Mcwilliams,, "Red Sox summon all avaliable arms in September call-up," 4 Sep. 2019 Street corners and alleyways where women wait for a steady trickle of clients, for quick cash to pay the rent. Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post, "Transgender sex workers feel under attack. These women are working to protect their own.," 16 Sep. 2019 An avalanche almost always begins with a trickle of dirt or a few bouncing pebbles, and then the world caves in. Los Angeles Times, "‘She Said’ is more important than ‘All the President’s Men.’ There, I said it," 12 Sep. 2019 Eventually, frustrated with authorities and a slow trickle of information, Bootle, her sister and cousin started a WhatsApp chat group. Dakin Andone, CNN, "In the Bahamas, social media is a vital tool in the search for missing loved ones," 7 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trickle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trickle


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for trickle


Middle English trikelen, of imitative origin

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Statistics for trickle

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for trickle

The first known use of trickle was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for trickle


How to pronounce trickle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of trickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to flow or fall in drops
: to move or go slowly in small numbers or amounts



English Language Learners Definition of trickle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a slow, thin flow of water
: a slow movement of people or things in small numbers or amounts


trick·​le | \ ˈtri-kəl How to pronounce trickle (audio) \
trickled; trickling

Kids Definition of trickle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to run or fall in drops
2 : to flow in a thin slow stream
3 : to move slowly or in small numbers Customers trickled in.



Kids Definition of trickle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a thin slow stream

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More from Merriam-Webster on trickle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trickle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trickle

Spanish Central: Translation of trickle

Nglish: Translation of trickle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trickle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on trickle

What made you want to look up trickle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something of little or no value

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