trill

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: the alternation of two musical tones a diatonic second apart

called also shake

b
c
: a rapid reiteration of the same tone especially on a percussion instrument
2
: a sound resembling a musical trill : warble
3
a
: the rapid vibration of one speech organ against another (as of the tip of the tongue against the ridge of bone behind the teeth in the upper jaw)
b
: a speech sound made by a trill

trill

2 of 3

verb (1)

trilled; trilling; trills

intransitive verb

: to play or sing with a trill : quaver

transitive verb

: to utter as or with or as if with a trill
trill the r
triller noun

trill

3 of 3

verb (2)

trilled; trilling; trills

intransitive verb

1
: to flow in a small stream or in drops : trickle
2

transitive verb

: to cause to flow in a small stream

Examples of trill in a Sentence

Noun She pronounces her r's with a trill. the trill of the bird Verb (1) a bluebird trilled outside our window
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Her singing is just as vivid and varied across the LP, with gutsy growls and breathy trills against multi-tracked harmony vocals that approximate the heavenly abundance of a gospel choir. Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2024 At the center is her sneaky-great voice, packed with playful coos and trills. Spin Staff, SPIN, 22 Jan. 2024 And brought others like themselves, who found a particular joy in the old-fashioned sounds of the flute trills. Lyudmila Ulitskaya, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 The explosive screech of violin strings is, however, underscored by one unexpected trill: a notification popping up on my phone. Hasina Jeelani, Vogue, 27 Feb. 2024 In a section of frothy trills, Schwartz addressed the woodwinds. Jeffrey Arlo Brown, New York Times, 6 Dec. 2023 With its hypnotic funk and minor piano trills, this soul track speaks to the very hottest of summer days. Kriston Capps, Washington Post, 11 Sep. 2023 Her live audience may have expected a dulcet trill. Mayukh Sen, The New Yorker, 30 Aug. 2023 Birds can make an array of noises, from elegant trills to ear-piercing squawks—and nearly everything in between. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Sep. 2023
Verb
At dawn, cooing doves and trilling Eurasian blackbirds woke me. Nina Burleigh, New York Times, 21 May 2024 In the band’s 50-minute set on the main stage on Saturday, at times Nowell was a carbon copy of his father, jumping from a death metal-like growl into his father’s trilling higher falsetto. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 14 Apr. 2024 The blast furnace of volcanoes has fallen silent, replaced by a cheery chorus of birdsong trilling from the branches and echoing through a garden of stone. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 11 Apr. 2024 Percussive footwork was multiplied in tight unison, groups moved in handsome lines and circles, castanets trilled and soloists broke out in displays of expertise. Brian Seibert, New York Times, 18 Mar. 2024 Down the hall from the hedgehog, staff fed trilling birds — no bigger than the palm of a hand — with tweezers and syringes. Jess McHugh, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 Sounds that change in loudness rapidly — Rogers demonstrated this by imitating a trilling sound similar to a jackhammer — are particularly troublesome. Gabe Bullard, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2023 Alára means ‘wondrous performer, one who trills endlessly’ in Yoruba. Helen Jennings, Vogue, 21 June 2023 Birds trilled, their song drowned periodically by planes roaring toward Reagan National Airport. Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'trill.' 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

Italian trillo probably of imitative origin

Verb (2)

Middle English; akin to Middle Dutch trillen to vibrate, Swedish trilla to roll

First Known Use

Noun

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

circa 1667, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Verb (2)

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of trill was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near trill

Cite this Entry

“Trill.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trill. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

trill

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: the alternation of two musical tones a whole step apart
b
2
3
a
: the rapid vibration of one speech organ against another (as of the tip of the tongue against the teeth)
b
: a speech sound produced by a trill

trill

2 of 2 verb
1
: to utter as or with a trill
trilled the letter r
2
: to play or sing with a trill : quaver

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