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See also: Winkle


a winkle or common periwinkle, Littorina littorea
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Short for periwinkle.


  • IPA(key): /ˈwɪŋkəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋkəl


winkle (plural winkles)

  1. A periwinkle or its shell, of family Littorinidae.
    • 1615, Helkiah Crooke, Mikrokosmographia, a Description of the Body of Man, London: William Jaggard, Book 8, Chapter 25, p. 610,[1]
      [] because the inward Eare is intorted like a winkle-shell, and hangeth as a bell in thee steeple of the body, it easily perceiueth all appulsions of the Ayre.
    • 1851, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, London: G. Newbold, Volume 1, p. 64,[2]
      Shrimps and winkles are the staple commodities of the afternoon trade, which lasts from three to half-past five in the evening. These articles are generally bought by the working-classes for their tea.
    • 1933 January 9, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 25, in Down and Out in Paris and London, London: Victor Gollancz [], OCLC 2603818, page 181:
      Sometimes late at night men would come in with a pail of winkles they had bought cheap, and share them out.
    • 2001, Ian McEwen, Atonement, Toronto: Vintage Canada, Chapter 13,[3]
      Briony was on her knees, trying to put her arms round Lola and gather her to her, but the body was bony and unyielding, wrapped tight about itself like a seashell. A winkle.
  2. Any one of various marine spiral gastropods, especially, in the United States, either of two species Busycotypus canaliculata and Busycon carica.
    • 1912, Daniel Melancthon Tredwell, Personal Reminiscences of Men and Things on Long Island:
      There were also found fragments of the winkle (Fulgar carica).
    • 1931, Bureau of Fisheries Document, volume 922, page 217:
      The conchs or winkles, Busycon carica (fig. 204, opp. p. 216) and B. canaliculata, ... He gave the estimate of one planter who believed that one winkle was able to destroy a bushel of oysters in a single hour.
    • 1969, Frank E. Firth, The encyclopedia of marine resources, page 139:
      In Connecticut, the so-called "winkle" chowder is made from B. [Busycon] canaliculatum.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:winkle.
  3. (children's slang) The penis, especially that of a boy rather than that of a man.
    • 2004, Robert Priest, How to Swallow a Pig:
      After all, he didn't want his winkle to get so big it became unruly and unnatural.

Derived terms[edit]




winkle (third-person singular simple present winkles, present participle winkling, simple past and past participle winkled)

  1. Synonym of winkle out (to acquire or extract with difficulty)

See also[edit]