truck·​le ˈtrə-kəl How to pronounce truckle (audio)
truckled; truckling ˈtrə-k(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce truckle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to act in a subservient manner : submit
truckler noun

Did you know?

When truckle was first used in English in the 15th century, it meant "small wheel" or "pulley." Such small wheels were often attached to the underside of low beds to allow them to be easily moved under high beds for storage. These beds came to be known as truckle beds (or trundle beds), and a verb truckle—meaning "to sleep in a truckle bed"—came into being. By the 17th century, the fact that truckle beds were pushed under larger standard beds had inspired a figurative sense of truckle: "to yield to the wishes of another" or "to bend obsequiously." The initial verb sense became obsolete; the newer sense is fairly rare but is still in use.

Choose the Right Synonym for truckle

fawn, toady, truckle, cringe, cower mean to behave abjectly before a superior.

fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention.

waiters fawning over a celebrity

toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude.

toadying to his boss

truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior.

truckling to a powerful lobbyist

cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility.

a cringing sycophant

cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people.

cowering before a bully

Examples of truckle in a Sentence

the kind of guy who truckles to anyone who might present a lucrative opportunity
Recent Examples on the Web Garbarino enjoyed his time with the Southern river rats and mountain folk, and their refusal to truckle to authority delights him to this day. David Samuels, Town & Country, 18 Oct. 2013 During the campaign, most of Trump’s fallen rivals blasted him in exceptional terms—before truckling to support him against Hillary Clinton. James Fallows, The Atlantic, 8 Oct. 2017

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

Word History


from the lower position of the truckle bed

First Known Use

1647, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of truckle was in 1647


Dictionary Entries Near truckle

Cite this Entry

“Truckle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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