"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[tril] /trɪl/
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.
  1. 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.
  2. a speech sound produced by such a trill.
Origin of trill1
late Middle English
1635-45; < Italian trillo quaver or warble in singing ≪ Germanic; compare Dutch trillen to vibrate, late Middle English trillen to shake or rock (something)


[tril] /trɪl/ 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trill
  • As the sky turns iridescent green with the setting sun, a silvery trill fills the air.
  • His observations bore this out: birds with smaller beaks trill more quickly and produce a wider range of notes.
  • 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.
  • The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.
  • The call is a rolling trill or flutelike notes, often given in flight.
  • The mating call is a short trill which is repeated at regular intervals.
  • Listen to its loud, short trill in any refuge locality.
  • The breeding call is a long continuous trill or pulsating ringing sound.
British Dictionary definitions for trill


(music) a melodic ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between a principal note and the note a whole tone or semitone above it Usual symbol (written above a note) tr., tr
a shrill warbling sound, esp as made by some birds
  1. 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
  2. the production of a similar effect using the uvula against the back of the tongue
to sound, sing, or play (a trill or with a trill)
(transitive) to pronounce (an (r) sound) by the production of a trill
Word Origin
C17: from Italian trillo, from trillare, apparently from Middle Dutch trillen to vibrate


verb, noun
an archaic or poetic word for trickle
Word Origin
C14: probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Norwegian trilla to roll; see trill1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for trill

1640s, from Italian trillio, triglio "a quavering or warbling in singing," probably of imitative origin. The verb is 1660s, from Italian trillare "to quaver, trill." Related: Trilled; trilling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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