Originally of tears; from strickle, frequentative of to strike, by elision (probably because tears trickle is easier to pronounce than tears strickle).



trickle ‎(plural trickles)

  1. A very thin river.
    The brook had shrunk to a mere trickle.
  2. A very thin flow; the act of trickling.
    The tap of the washbasin in my bedroom is leaking and the trickle drives me mad at night.
    • James Bryce
      The streams that run south and east from the mountains to the coast are short and rapid torrents after a storm, but at other times dwindle to feeble trickles of mud.



trickle ‎(third-person singular simple present trickles, present participle trickling, simple past and past participle trickled)

Water is trickling down this boy's face.
  1. (transitive) to pour a liquid in a very thin stream, or so that drops fall continuously
    The doctor trickled some iodine on the wound.
  2. (intransitive) to flow in a very thin stream or drop continuously
    Here the water just trickles along, but later it becomes a torrent.
    The film was so bad that people trickled out of the cinema before its end.
    • 1897, Bram Stoker, Dracula Chapter 21
      Her white night-dress was smeared with blood, and a thin stream trickled down the man's bare chest which was shown by his torn-open dress.
  3. (intransitive) To move or roll slowly.
    • 2010 December 29, Sam Sheringham, “Liverpool 0 - 1 Wolverhampton”, in BBC[1]:
      Their only shot of the first period was a long-range strike from top-scorer Ebanks-Blake which trickled tamely wide.