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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for trickle

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some locals were initially feeling wary about visitors who trickled into town looking to escape big-city outbreaks. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times, "Small towns across the Sierra fear tourists will bring coronavirus with them," 10 May 2020 Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, formed a working group to craft a replacement housing production bill, while other proposals to streamline approval for projects trickled forward. Alexei Koseff,, "‘Whole new crisis’: California lawmakers wrestle with coronavirus on top of housing shortages," 9 May 2020 Credit markets are showing signs of thawing, as strong reception of record investment-grade issuance has trickled into the high-yield market. Hannah Benjamin,, "Investors Clamor for Credit With New Deal Demand Off the Charts," 7 May 2020 Ice wedges are giant spears that form when water trickles into cracks in the silty parts of the permafrost. Madeline Ostrander, Wired, "Want to Study Permafrost? Get It Before It's Gone," 2 May 2020 Germany's death toll has remained relatively low in part because the coronavirus trickled into the country mostly in young people. Angela Dewan, Henrik Pettersson And Natalie Croker, CNN, "As governments fumbled their coronavirus response, these four got it right. Here's how.," 16 Apr. 2020 Gripped its metal edge in instinctive obedience, desire trickling through my body electric. Faylita Hicks, Longreads, "The Danger of Desire," 2 Apr. 2020 For McConnaughey, watching her neighbors trickle away has been difficult. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "Why SpaceX Wants a Tiny Texas Neighborhood So Badly," 31 Mar. 2020 All this organizing trickled up to Sacramento, the state capital. E. Tammy Kim, The New York Review of Books, "Moms 4 Housing: Redefining the Right to a Home in Oakland," 9 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lakes and rivers that overflow during the winter months are reduced to puddles and trickles come summer. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, "Winners of the 2020 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition," 11 May 2020 Data from Georgia, Oklahoma and South Carolina show people came out in trickles rather than droves, but travel, clothes and entertainment topped the list. Taylor Umlauf, WSJ, "Some States Lifted Coronavirus Restrictions, but Did People Go Out?," 29 Apr. 2020 Some detainees worried that prison officials aren’t doing enough to protect them, especially as reports trickle in about outbreaks in other jails and facilities. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "‘Nothing changed in here’: Detainees at private Ohio prison talk fears amid coronavirus," 7 Apr. 2020 But as economic reports for the first quarter trickle in, this picture is expected to change. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Wall Street volatility is here to stay," 14 Mar. 2020 Dan Harris of Harris Bricken, an American law firm, worries that today’s trickle of mainland suppliers declaring force majeure (FM), an obscure legal manoeuvre used to get out of contracts, could turn into a tidal wave. The Economist, "Chinese firms use obscure legal tactics to stem virus losses," 20 Feb. 2020 Biden then used some of his most muscular language to date to criticize Buttigieg, who’s narrowly leading Sanders in Iowa as the results trickle in. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Biden goes on attack, slams Buttigieg and Sanders after taking ‘gut punch’ in Iowa," 6 Feb. 2020 Listening to multiple notifications trickle in (or blast in) is a major annoyance for me. Washington Post, "Ask Amy: Partner contemplates future with awful stepchildren," 13 Jan. 2020 Oregon so far has received only a trickle of the tests authorized under its contracts. oregonlive, "Oregon poised to secure 30,000 more coronavirus tests," 1 May 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about trickle

Time Traveler for trickle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for trickle

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Trickle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!