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

Example Sentences

Noun She pronounces her r's with a trill. the trill of the bird

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 3 Feb. 2023.

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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