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[trik-uh l] /ˈtrɪk əl/
verb (used without object), trickled, trickling.
to flow or fall by drops, or in a small, gentle stream:
Tears trickled down her cheeks.
to come, go, or pass bit by bit, slowly, or irregularly:
The guests trickled out of the room.
verb (used with object), trickled, trickling.
to cause to trickle.
a trickling flow or stream.
a small, slow, or irregular quantity of anything coming, going, or proceeding:
a trickle of visitors throughout the day.
1325-75; Middle English triklen, trekelen (v.), apparently sandhi variant of strikle, perhaps equivalent to strike (in obsolete sense “flow”) + -le
Related forms
tricklingly, adverb
4. dribble, seepage, drip. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trickling
  • Even the advertising dollars have finally started trickling in.
  • Many tourists are already trickling into town and many will stay for the weekend.
  • By late morning, rivulets of melt are trickling down the ice.
  • Thanks to the trailblazing of the rich and famous, the price of home networks is finally trickling down to the rest of us.
  • The drops that fall from it will accomplish his destiny and so prevent the tears from trickling from his eyes.
  • With so many subprime borrowers now behind on their payments, the pain is trickling through the system.
  • As the trickling salt water meets the air, evaporation occurs.
  • By the fourth, there was blood trickling from his left nostril.
  • The company's marketing department has been trickling out online videos of the device.
  • With a booming art market, commercial pressure is trickling down to the academies.
British Dictionary definitions for trickling


to run or cause to run in thin or slow streams: she trickled the sand through her fingers
(intransitive) to move, go, or pass gradually: the crowd trickled away
a thin, irregular, or slow flow of something
the act of trickling
Derived Forms
trickling, adjective
tricklingly, adverb
trickly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: perhaps 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 trickling



late 14c., possibly a shortened variant of stricklen "to trickle," a frequentative form of striken "to flow, move" (see strike). Related: Trickled; trickling. Trickle-down as an adjectival phrase in an economic sense first recorded 1944; the image had been in use at least since Teddy Roosevelt.


1570s, from trickle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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