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[ting-kuh l] /ˈtɪŋ kəl/
verb (used without object), tinkled, tinkling.
to give forth or make a succession of short, light, ringing sounds, as a small bell.
to run one's fingers lightly over a keyboard instrument or to play such an instrument simply or badly.
Baby Talk. to urinate.
verb (used with object), tinkled, tinkling.
to cause to tinkle or jingle:
The goat tinkled its bell every time it raised its head. Who's tinkling the piano?
to make known, call attention to, attract, or summon by tinkling.
a tinkling sound or tune.
an act or instance of tinkling.
Informal. a telephone call:
Give me a tinkle before you leave for Europe.
Origin of tinkle
1350-1400; Middle English tynclen, frequentative of tinken to clink; imitative
Related forms
outtinkle, verb (used with object), outtinkled, outtinkling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tinkle
  • His voice fuzzy, the tinkle of her laughter in the background.
  • When several berimbau players are heard together they set up a sweetly jangled tinkle.
  • Goldsmith is so extraordinarily buoyant and extroverted that he seems to enter a room in a tinkle of magic dust.
  • When the wind picks up, and the bells softly tinkle, there is no more powerful monument anywhere.
  • tinkle was aware of the ordinance but purchased a ten-acre parcel of land with the intent of creating a subdivision.
British Dictionary definitions for tinkle


to ring or cause to ring with a series of high tinny sounds, like a small bell
(transitive) to announce or summon by such a ringing
(intransitive) (Brit, informal) to urinate
a high clear ringing sound
the act of tinkling
(Brit, informal) a telephone call
Derived Forms
tinkling, adjective, noun
tinkly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tinkle

"to make a gentle ringing sound," late 14c., possibly a frequentative form of tinken "to ring, jingle," perhaps of imitative origin. Meaning "to urinate" is recorded from 1960, from childish talk. Related: Tinkled; tinkling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tinkle


n,n phr

A petty but flashy gambler, or any person with those characteristics: denunciations of punks, tin-horns, and gyps

[entry form 1857+, variant 1885+; fr the horn-shaped metal can used by chuck-a-luck operators for shaking the dice; the notion of inferiority comes fr the presumed superiority of other, more sophisticated kinds of gambling, and fr the generalized inferiority of tin to other metals]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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