1 [tril]
verb (used with object)
to sing or play with a vibratory or quavering effect.
Phonetics. to produce (a sound) with a trill.
(of birds, insects, etc.) to sing or utter in a succession of rapidly alternating sounds.
verb (used without object)
to resound vibrantly, or with a rapid succession of sounds, as the voice, song, or laughter.
to utter or make a sound or succession of sounds resembling such singing, as a bird, frog, grasshopper, or person laughing.
to execute a shake or trill with the voice or on a musical instrument.
Phonetics. to execute a trill, especially with the tongue, as while singing, talking, or whistling.
the act or sound of trilling.
Music. a rapid alternation of two adjacent tones; a shake.
a similar sound, or succession of sounds, uttered or made by a bird, an insect, a person laughing, etc.
a sequence of repetitive, rapid, vibratory movements produced in any free articulator or membrane by a rush of air expelled from the lungs and often causing a corresponding sequence of contacts between the vibrating articulator and another organ or surface.
a speech sound produced by such a trill.

1635–45; < Italian trillo quaver or warble in singing ≪ Germanic; compare Dutch trillen to vibrate, late Middle English trillen to shake or rock (something) Unabridged


2 [tril] Archaic.
verb (used without object)
to flow in a thin stream; trickle.
verb (used with object)
to cause to flow in a thin stream.

1300–50; Middle English trillen to make (something) turn, to roll, flow (said of tears, water) < Old Danish trijlæ to roll (said, e.g., of tears and of a wheelbarrow); compare Norwegian trille, Swedish trilla. See trill1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
trill1 (trɪl)
1.  music tr. , Usual symbol: tr a melodic ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between a principal note and the note a whole tone or semitone above it
2.  a shrill warbling sound, esp as made by some birds
3.  phonetics
 a.  the articulation of an (r) sound produced by holding the tip of the tongue close to the alveolar ridge, allowing the tongue to make a succession of taps against the ridge
 b.  the production of a similar effect using the uvula against the back of the tongue
4.  to sound, sing, or play (a trill or with a trill)
5.  (tr) to pronounce (an (r) sound) by the production of a trill
[C17: from Italian trillo, from trillare, apparently from Middle Dutch trillen to vibrate]

trill2 (trɪl)
vb, —n
an archaic or poetic word for trickle
[C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Norwegian trilla to roll; see trill1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1649, from It. trillio, triglio "a quavering or warbling in singing," probably of imitative origin. The verb is 1666, from It. trillare "to quaver, trill."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in phonetics, a vibration or series of flaps (see flap) of the tongue, lips, or uvula against some other part of the mouth. The Spanish rr in perro ("dog") is a tongue trill, and the French r is sometimes pronounced as an uvular trill

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
As the sky turns iridescent green with the setting sun, a silvery trill fills
  the air.
Each chirp is a brief trill of three to five pulses.
But then a trill of sadness gurgles her speech, and the microphone is suddenly
  filled with her sobs.
He stopped abruptly in the middle of a trill and the notes lingered in a
  lasting resonance.
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