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See also: Tinkle



From Middle English tinclen, equivalent to tink +‎ -le (frequentative suffix).


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈtɪŋkəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋkəl


tinkle (third-person singular simple present tinkles, present participle tinkling, simple past and past participle tinkled)

  1. (intransitive) To make light metallic sounds, rather like a very small bell.
    The glasses tinkled together as they were placed on the table.
    • 1753, Robert Dodsley, Agriculture:
      The sprightly horse / Moves to the music of his tinkling bells.
  2. (transitive) To cause to tinkle.
  3. (transitive) To indicate, signal, etc. by tinkling.
    The butler tinkled dinner.
  4. To hear, or resound with, a small, sharp sound.
  5. (intransitive, informal) To urinate.


Derived terms[edit]



tinkle (countable and uncountable, plural tinkles)

  1. A light metallic sound, resembling the tinkling of bells or wind chimes.
    • 1966, James Workman, The Mad Emperor, Melbourne, Sydney: Scripts, page 97:
      She laughed, her voice a tinkle in the silence of the circular chamber.
    • 1994, Stephen Fry, chapter 2, in The Hippopotamus:
      At the very moment he cried out, David realised that what he had run into was only the Christmas tree. . . . There were no sounds of any movement upstairs: no shouts, no sleepy grumbles, only a gentle tinkle from the decorations as the tree had recovered from the collision.
  2. (UK, informal) A telephone call.
    Synonyms: call, ring
    Give me a tinkle when you arrive.
  3. (informal, euphemistic) An act of urination.
  4. (informal, euphemistic) Urine. (Can we add an example for this sense?)