from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fluttering or tremulous sound, as that made by certain birds; a warble.
  • n. Music The rapid alternation of two tones either a whole or a half tone apart.
  • n. Music A vibrato.
  • n. Linguistics A rapid vibration of one speech organ against another, as of the tongue against the alveolar ridge in Spanish rr.
  • n. Linguistics A speech sound pronounced with such a vibration.
  • transitive v. To sound, sing, or play with a trill.
  • transitive v. To articulate (a sound) with a trill.
  • intransitive v. To produce or give forth a trill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A rapid alternation between an indicated note and the one above it, in musical notation usually indicated with the letters tr written above the staff.
  • n. A type of consonantal sound that is produced by vibrations of the tongue against the place of articulation, for example, Spanish rr.
  • v. To create a trill sound.
  • v. To trickle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sound, of consonantal character, made with a rapid succession of partial or entire intermissions, by the vibration of some one part of the organs in the mouth -- tongue, uvula, epiglottis, or lip -- against another part.
  • n. The action of the organs in producing such sounds. d.
  • n. A shake or quaver of the voice in singing, or of the sound of an instrument, produced by the rapid alternation of two contiguous tones of the scale. See Shake.
  • intransitive v. To flow in a small stream, or in drops rapidly succeeding each other; to trickle.
  • intransitive v. To utter trills or a trill; to play or sing in tremulous vibrations of sound; to have a trembling sound; to quaver.
  • transitive v. To turn round; to twirl.
  • transitive v. To impart the quality of a trill to; to utter as, or with, a trill

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To turn round rapidly; twirl; whirl.
  • To roll to and fro; rock.
  • To throw; cast.
  • To pour out.
  • To roll.
  • To rock; swing to and fro; shake; quiver.
  • To roll down, as water; trickle.
  • To sound with tremulous vibrations.
  • To sing in a quavering manner; specifically, to execute a shake or trill.
  • To sing in a quavering or tremulous manner; pipe.
  • To pronounce with a quick vibration of the tongue; roll, as the sound of r.
  • n. A quavering, tremulous sound; a rapid, trembling series or succession of tones; a warbling.
  • n. In music, same as shake, 5; also, formerly, the effect now called the vibrato.
  • n. A consonant pronounced with a trilling sound, as r.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. pronounce with a trill, of the phoneme `r'
  • n. the articulation of a consonant (especially the consonant `r') with a rapid flutter of the tongue against the palate or uvula
  • n. a note that alternates rapidly with another note a semitone above it
  • v. sing or play with trills, alternating with the half note above or below


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Italian trillo, from trillare, to trill, probably ultimately of imitative origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English trillen. Compare Norwegian trille, Swedish trilla.



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  • The spring green sparkled in the spring light. Tree toads were trilling.

    - William Steig, The Amazing Bone

    September 29, 2008

  • "The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun." Whitman, Song of Myself, 2

    January 4, 2008