1

winkle

noun win·kle \ ˈwiŋ-kəl \

Definition of winkle

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winkle and WWI

If you have ever extracted a winkle from its shell, then you understand how the verb winkle came to be. The word winkle is short for periwinkle, the name of a marine or freshwater snail. Periwinkle is ultimately derived from Latin pina, the name of a mussel, and Old English wincle, a snail shell. Evidently the personnel of World War I's Allied Powers found their duty of finding and removing the enemy from the trenches analogous to extracting a well-entrenched snail and began using winkle to describe their efforts. The action of "winkling the enemy out" was later extended to other situations, such as "winkling information out of someone."

Origin and Etymology of winkle

by shortening

Other Invertebrates (Except Insects) Terms


2

winkle

verb

Definition of winkle

winkled; winkling play \ˈwiŋ-k(ə-)liŋ\
intransitive verb

Origin and Etymology of winkle

frequentative of wink


3

winkle

verb

Definition of winkle

winkled; winkling play \ˈwiŋ-k(ə-)liŋ\
transitive verb
1 chiefly British :to displace, remove, or evict from a position usually used with out
2 chiefly British :to obtain or draw out by effort usually used with out
  • no attempt to winkle out why they do it
  • —Joan Bakewell

Origin and Etymology of winkle

1winkle; from the process of extracting a winkle from its shell




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